Sarah: The Barren Mother of Nations

“Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord?”
Genesis 18:14

When I was a missionary, a sister senior missionary would often recite this poem: “It’s easy enough to be pleasant, when life flows along like a song. But the person worthwhile is the one who can smile, when everything goes dead wrong.”

 How do we react when things don’t go our way? Or don’t happen in the timeline we expect? How about when a blessing we have been promised comes 40 years after we think it’s supposed to come? Is anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14)

 Sarah, the wife of Abraham, was a beautiful woman (Genesis 12:11), but she was unable to have children (Genesis 11:30). Eventually Sarah and Abraham received the Abrahamic Covenant, and God told them they would have posterity as numerous as the sands of the sea and the stars in heaven (Genesis 15:5). But as the childless years went by, I can only wonder what Sarah felt. Where was the blessing that she and her husband had been promised?

 How can we choose to follow God even when the blessings don’t come right away? As a woman, Sarah ached to have a child, to be “a mother of nations” as the Lord promised (Genesis 17:16) — but her biological clock was ticking, and the miracle hadn’t happened.

She wanted to give her husband a child so she gave Abraham her maid, Hagar, so he could have a son (Genesis 16:2). I often read this part of the story without really thinking of what this meant — she gave her husband another women to have a child with! Yes, this was not an uncommon thing in that culture, but still, what a selfless thing to do!

 What can we learn from Sarah’s years of waiting?

 She was faithful.

 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11)

 Do you trust in the one who promised? 

 The blessing did come; it always does when we trust in God’s timeline. She received the blessing she longed for, even though it wasn’t in HER timeline — she was 90 years old when she had Isaac! (Genesis 17:17)

 

Then many years later, once again, we learn how Sarah put her trust in her Heavenly Father and in her husband.

 We know that Abraham was commanded by God to take his son, Isaac, to the mountain to be sacrificed. Now, after all of these years of waiting, finally receiving the gift you wanted, why would God take it away?

 As I read this story, I often wonder — what did Sarah know? Had Abraham talked to her about it? If she did know, what amazing trust she had in her husband and in Heavenly Father. And if she didn’t know until after, can you imagine hearing what happened with Abraham and Isaac when they got home?  

 What happens when things don’t go our way? Whether something extremely hard like not having children when you want them or even something much smaller like someone being rude to you at the grocery store?

 I know that the person worthwhile is the one who can smile when everything goes dead wrong. I know that our life has meaning and purpose as we put our trust in God and his timeline.

 Nothing is too hard for the Lord.