Most of Sarah’s friends left their bridal chamber bearing new life. Not Sarah. She left her bridal chamber with an empty womb but a hopeful heart. Weeks passed into months that grew into long years and the memory of that bridal chamber grew faint.
Sarah’s hope for a little one would rise and fall with each passing month, until hope was swallowed by barrenness.
Sarah’s youthful days of love were now long gone. Heart-wrenching pain came with the children’s cries she could hear outside the walls of her tent. Other women’s children, not her own, played in the encampment, sang little songs followed by laughter, and ran to their mother’s arms, but not Sarah’s.
Her life felt cursed. She felt alone and forgotten.
Where were the little ones she should be nursing?
Where were the heirs she should be raising for Abram?
Infertility is one of the deepest pains a woman can endure. Her journey of broken dreams, arms unfilled, and lonely dinner tables, often ends in bitterness.
An empty womb can be a hope-destroyer and faith-ender.
But for Sarah, the empty womb prepared her to face one of the greatest challenges of faith recorded in Scripture.
[box]“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised.” (Hebrews 11:11)[/box]
At ninety years old, God brought the amazing promise to Abraham that He would give him a son through Sarah. The covenant pledge was sealed with the changing of both their names, signifying the incredible work the Almighty would accomplish through them (Genesis 17).
Through Sarah’s body, a nation would be birthed; God’s chosen people would come to life. Sarah would be the mother to kings and through her would flow the seed of the Redeemer. Sarah would carry in her womb the wonder of the great redemption story, the offspring God spoke of in Eden’s dark hour, would continue through a most unlikely source—a ninety-year-old woman.
And why not?
Isn’t this just like God?
I love the fact that God delights in taking the surprise route. I mean, who would script the story this way? Use a ninety-year-old woman to birth a nation?
But that is so like God.
The physical circumstances provide plenty of room for doubt to take hold, so God reminds Abraham who “He is” at the opening of this chapter: “I am God Almighty.” And He challenges Sarah’s laughter with the question “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
Apparently, Sarah’s laughter gave way to faith at some point, thus her noble commendation in the hall of faith (Heb. 11:11).
Sarah’s faith-filled response isn’t recorded for us in Genesis, but we know that somewhere between her laughter in Genesis 18 and her praise recorded in Hebrews 11, Sarah reached the place of faith.
Sarah’s faith challenges and inspires me!
Sarah didn’t have completed Scripture or the indwelling Spirit to depend on. She relied on the testimony of a faithful God who she knew was trustworthy. God’s trustworthy character was enough for her to believe He could bring her aging body to life, that He would fill her womb with the promised son, that He would accomplish the next stage of the grand redemption story, in the quiet of her bedroom chamber.
Am I believing that today?
Do I believe that nothing is too hard for the Almighty God I serve?
On this Advent journey, we will discover and watch as God shows up to work in incredible ways in women’s lives. We’ll be looking at several women who are in overwhelming circumstances, or barren places, who feel forsaken or forgotten—and in each woman’s life God’s entrance is marked by faithfulness.
Sarah played an integral role in the redemptive story. Her promised son would point to the Promised One who would come. The One we celebrate today—the Redeemer who is a Son, but who is also our King. Sarah, the barren one who trusted the faithful character of God, became the mother of the covenant nation through whom the King would eventually come.
How is God asking you to trust Him today?
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