The next woman I would like to write about reminds me of my DD. She and her brother are what I term “the microwave generation”….they don’t have any concept what it is like to wait for anything. I hear from her more times than I really want to the phrase, “I can’t wait that long! It’s too long!” I can imagine that was a key phrase that God heard from Sarai as well.
The book of Genesis gives us an insight on this woman of faith. She was married to a man named Abram and she was barren. She had no children. She and Abram lived in Haran until her husband got a call from the Lord to leave his homeland and to travel to Canaan, where the Lord would make him into a great nation. I am sure that this poor woman spent a lot of time riding on a camel, camping out in tents, not knowing where in the world the Lord was taking them, but following her husband to the ends of the Earth.
She went through a lot, too though, that her husband asked of her. Genesis 12:10-20 talks about a journey they had to take to Egypt during a famine where Abram asked his wife to pretend she was his sister, so that he wouldn’t be killed because of her beauty. So she was taken in by the Pharoah and Abram was treated well, but ummmm….the Lord was not too pleased with this decision they made. He struck the Pharoah’s household with serious diseases until the Pharoah realized that he had brought in Abram’s wife for his own! Now, Abram didn’t ask her to do this once, but twice! (see Genesis 20)
Okay, enough about Abram’s sin. But through all this time, Sarai was still barren. No children, so how could it be possible for Abram to become a great nation without any children? What do you think, ladies? Is it time to take things out of God’s hands and do it ourself? Well, Sarai thought it was. It just wasn’t happening as God had planned, so how could it hurt to try it all by myself? So we move on to Genesis 16, where Sarai does just this. Well she couldn’t have babies, but her servant Hagar could! So she tells her husband, “The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.” (Gen. 16:2) What? Sarai is giving her husband permission to sleep with another woman? Is she crazy? The thought of MY DH sleeping with another woman…I don’t think I could handle that. And why is the blame on the Lord? Is he REALLY the one keeping her from having children? So Abram agreed and Hagar got pregnant. And guess what….Mrs. Abram was not the least bit happy about this. Why? It was her idea, right? But no……. Sarai comes back with the big one…THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT. “Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my servant in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the LORD judge between you and me.” (Gen. 16:5) Do you ever make a decision to do something then realize what a huge mistake this was when you get the results? I think Sarai did. But there, working as her maid, was a woman who bore her husband a son when she could not. She was probably very hurt and thought that God had forgotten his promise.
But God kept reiterating his promise to Abram and even changed his name to Abraham, and God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah. They were 100 and 90 years old respectively. Abraham and Sarah, who were well past childbearing age, both laughed that they would conceive and bear a child in their old age, but God did keep his promise. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son, and they called him Isaac, which means “laughter”.
What can we learn from Sarah? I think the most important thing is that when God makes a promise, He will keep it. Has God ever made a promise to you? Has He fulfilled that promise yet? If the answer is no, then we continue to wait. To my DH, it probably seemed like God would never change me into the wife that I was intended to be, but he waited patiently, never once thinking about leaving me or cheating on me. God’s ways are the best ways. And His timing is never the same way as ours.
What would you have done in Sarah’s shoes? Would you have taken matters into your own hand? It’s easy to say, “Nah, I would never do that”, but I bet if we got that nagging feeling of “I can’t wait that long! It’s too long!”, might we be thinking of invitro fertilization? adoption? a surrogate mother like Sarah did? Take some notes from Sarah and file it in your memory banks. History does tend to repeat itself, but if we remember her plight when we face a long, hard road, maybe it will comfort us to think of her happiness when God’s promise WAS fulfilled. Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” (Gen 21:6-7)