Today our topic is about Sarah – the matriarch to many nations. Sarah was a wife to Abraham. In her old age, she became mother to Isaac. Sarah struggled with self-doubt, fear, unbelief, and eavesdropping. Sarah was guilty of making bad choices because of her struggles with doubt and fear. Even though, she struggled in her faith, Sarah’s name is recorded in chapter 11 of Hebrews and recognized for her faith. ‘By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.’ (v.11)
The story of Sarah can be found in the book of Genesis chapters 15-18 and 21. Today’s thought will discuss the time when Sarah learns she will become a mother. In the story, we read that God promised Abraham he would have as many children as the stars in the sky. (Genesis 15:5) We read that Abraham and Sarah were waiting for God’s promise of a child. Sarah struggled with accepting this truth. In Genesis 18, she overheard three visitors and Abraham. She heard them tell Abraham he would have a son in a year. What does Sarah do? She laughs. ‘So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? At the appointed time I will return to you, about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”’ Genesis 18:12-15.
She laughed because she doubted that she could bear a child in her old age. Not only does she laugh about it, she denied laughing. But, God reminded her of His greatness and power. Obviously Sarah submitted to God and accepted this role in His plan. This had to have been scary. When I read the story, I don’t think I’ve fully connected what’s really going on. This was a 90 year old woman and she’s been told she will have a child. She has a hard time believing this. I get that. But she doesn’t let that stop her from believing in God. Actually, she shows great faith and bravery in accepting God’s will in her life. She doesn’t try to run from it. She doesn’t ask God to take this from her. No, she grappled with believing she could be a mother, because she was barren and advanced in years, but she submitted to God and His will.
When I’ve read this story over the years, many times I would find myself focusing on her lack of faith. But this time I meditated on Hebrews 11:11 and how Sarah is commended for her faith, I looked at her with a new set of eyes. My appreciation for Sarah goes much deeper. I used to think she was a great example of faith despite this time of doubt. But after studying this again, I relate to that struggle of doubting. Many times, I’m guilty of doubt. I think that Sarah is a great example of faith because of this doubt. Sarah did not let this moment of doubt effect her commitment to trust in God. She continued to believe in Him, serve Him and accept His will in her life while struggling with the doubts of her physical abilities and her age. What an influential faith she had!
We read later in Genesis that God kept his promise to Abraham and Sarah. ‘The Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to Sarah as he had promised. And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”’ Genesis 21:1-7
So, Sarah accepted God’s will to fulfill His promise through her, by not only conceiving a child, but carrying the baby safely through the birth at 90 years of age. She credited God with this amazing event and said He made laughter for her. It’s interesting that she mentioned that God made laughter for her. She understood the difference in her laughter of doubt and the laughter the the Lord had blessed her with. She laughed because of joy. She finally experienced the joy of motherhood because of God’s faithfulness.
Sarah’s faith definitely earned her a place at the table of faithful women. She exhibited many faithful qualities in her life. Her story imparts a great lesson to me. In her time of doubt, she remained true to God and let His will be done. What a beautiful testament of faith and one that we all should aspire to.
Until next time