Sarah was married to Abraham. Famous, wealthy, “God credited his faith as righteousness,” Abraham.
One day Abraham calls to Sarah, “Hey Honey, pack up! I heard from God and we’re on the move.”
To which I’m sure Sarah responded, “I’d follow you anywhere, Handsome. What’s our destination? I’ll Google it to be sure we don’t get lost.”
“Well, I don’t know where we’re going, exactly. We’re just going. God will show us where.”
“Let’s see how this turns out,” comes Sarah’s knowing reply.
They travel and travel and travel and about a year later they settle in Canaan, the Promised Land. Then, just after they’ve moved into their new diggs, God promises Abraham that he will be the father of a great nation.
Abraham is 75, Sarah is 65, and they have no children. None. Zero. Not one descendant.
I imagine Sarah heard this new promise and thought something like, “The last time God made a promise to us it took about a year to fulfill. This couldn’t take much longer than that, right? Piece of cake.”
By this time Sarah is feeling a little like she’s never going to have a baby. So she comes up with a plan. Sarah gives her servant Haggar to Abraham and together they have Ishmael. Problem. Solved. Here come the descendants. God no longer has to worry about making good on his promise. Sarah has it handled.
Fourteen years after Ishmael’s birth God makes his promise a fourth time. Perhaps Ishmael was a difficult teenager or Abraham wasn’t interested in starting over with a new son. Maybe he was doubting God’s sanity or his own ability to hear from God. Whatever the case? This time Abraham laughs and asks, “Can’t Ishmael be the blessed one? Can’t my descendants come from him?”
Sarah heard the promise for a son that fourth time too.
For 25 years Sarah has heard, “God will give you a son.” For 25 years, Sarah has lived in the cycle of hope and disappointment. For 25 years, Sarah has wondered when it’s going to be her turn and finally she’s had enough. She’s in the tent, preparing a meal and she laughs to herself. “I’ve heard this all before. Sure, buddy, I’m going to have a son. Let’s not hold our breath, K?!”
Sometimes I feel a little like Sarah. Sometimes I feel like God has sparked in me a hope for the future and it seems to be just out of reach. Sometimes it seems like I must have misunderstood. Perhaps the dream is for someone else. Maybe you feel a little like Sarah sometimes too. You wonder if God forgot about you; if He still knows the cry of your heart.
I have good news for you. God didn’t forget Sarah. And he hasn’t for gotten us.
When Abraham asked if Ishmael could be the fulfillment of God’s promise God replied, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son…” Read it again, slowly.
“Yes, but your wife Sarah…”
At 90 years old it was Sarah’s turn and Isaac was born.
All that time the promise was for Sarah. We serve a God who keeps his promises, even when we lose hope, even when we wonder and even when we look for a way around God’s timing.
God didn’t forget Sarah. He hasn’t forgotten you. He hasn’t forgotten me.
God uses people who wonder if He still cares. God uses people who lose hope. God uses people like us.
On May 3rd I’ll be speaking at Coffee Talk, an event my church hosts for women. I will be highlighting the stories of a few of the women in Genesis as we discover the kind of woman God asks to be part of His story. This post is a sneak peak at my talk for Saturday the 3rd. I’d love to see you there!