June 15, 2021
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"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 (ESV)
When I first got married, I naively thought that getting pregnant, sustaining a pregnancy and then delivering a child was like riding a bike. People seemed to do it with great ease all the time. At least, that's how it appeared.
I didn't have many married friends, and those friends didn't seem to reveal much about their private lives. It wasn't until I began having trouble getting pregnant and subsequently had two miscarriages that I realized how common infertility and miscarriages were. I ended up having a total of four miscarriages, but I did eventually give birth to our two children. Although I have children, when I read Sarah's story, there's much about her response that I can relate to, and I imagine the same will be true for many of us.
Scripture tells us that Sarah was barren. It can be assumed she and Abraham attempted to bear children but were unable to conceive. By the time we get to Genesis Chapter 18, Sarah is old, and biologically speaking, she would not be physically able to have children. (Genesis 18:11) Sarah overheard the Lord discussing her pending pregnancy, and she did what I think most in her state would do: She laughed in disbelief. (v. 12)
This part of the story is quite remarkable to me. God confronts Sarah for laughing and she denies it. Then the Lord calls her on the lie. (vv. 13-15) She did laugh, and she did struggle to believe that she could become pregnant. And the Lord tells her and all of us, "Is anything too hard for the LORD?" (Genesis 18:14a, ESV).
Even though Sarah laughed at first, the writer of Hebrews points out that Sarah was recognized as a woman of faith. Not because her faith was incredible but because she believed God was faithful: "... she considered him faithful who had promised" (Hebrews 11:11).
I remember, after my second miscarriage, sitting in bed wondering if God would heal my numb yet broken heart. The sorrow was too deep for words. And He graciously drew near to me, as He says He will in His Word. (Psalm 34:18) I didn't know how my story would end; I just knew God was asking me to trust Him.
The Lord doesn't promise us each and every desire of our hearts, but He does promise to be faithful. And He is. He was near to me and near to Sarah.
Although I can't know for sure why the Lord chose this woman and this particular story, I can only imagine the many women who've heard and read about Sarah and were comforted. And although she did conceive, I imagine their comfort came from witnessing the character of God.
Sometimes our own stories are too difficult to tell, but the Lord has been so good to help us with the stories of those who have gone before us. He told Sarah that she would be pregnant. That pregnancy, by all earthly standards, was impossible, and the Lord did the impossible.
No matter what impossible situation you face today, or whether, like Sarah, you are struggling to believe God will come through for you, we can turn to the Lord and say: "What is impossible for man is possible with God" (Luke 18:27, ESV).
Lord, You know the pain, sorrow, loss and unanswered prayers of all Your people. I pray that You would draw near to us in our brokenness and that we would rest in Your loving arms. Comfort us, dear Lord. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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FOR DEEPER STUDY
Numbers 23:19, "God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (NIV)
Have you ever been in a situation that seemed impossible? How have you seen the faithfulness of God in that situation?
It has been said that God is doing thousands of things on our behalf, but we may only be aware of a few of them. Take a moment to recall the different ways the Lord has been faithful to you in your life, and share your thoughts with us in the comments!
© 2021 by Trillia Newbell. All rights reserved. Adapted from A Great Cloud of Witnesses: A Study of Those Who Lived by Faith by Trillia J. Newbell (© 2021). Published by Moody Publishers. Used by permission.