“Then the LORD took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!”
“Sarai, Abram’s wife, hadn’t yet produced a child. She had an Egyptian maid named Hagar. Sarai said to Abram, “God has not seen fit to let me have a child. Sleep with my maid. Maybe I can get a family from her.” Abram agreed to do what Sarai said. So Sarai, Abram’s wife, took her Egyptian maid Hagar and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife. Abraham had been living ten years in Canaan when this took place. He slept with Hagar and she got pregnant. When Hagar learned she was pregnant, she looked down on her mistress. Sarai told Abram, “It’s all your fault that I’m suffering this abuse. I put my maid in bed with you and the minute she knows she’s pregnant, she treats me like I’m nothing. May GOD decide which of us is right.” “You decide.” Said Abram. “Your maid is your business.” Sarai was abusive to Hagar and Hagar ran away.
God continued speaking to Abraham, “And Sarai your wife: Don’t call her Sarai any longer; call her Sarah. I’ll bless her—yes! I’ll give you a son by her! Oh, how I’ll bless her! Nations will come from her; kings of nations will come from her.” Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, “Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?” And Abraham said to God, “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing.” Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac.
~Genesis 17: 15-19a
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my husband is old, will I now have this pleasure?” Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, “ I did not laugh.” But he said, “Yes, you did laugh.”
~Genesis 18: 10b-15
Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised, “Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, and at the very time God had promised him.
~Genesis 21: 1-2
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me. And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
~Genesis 21: 6-7
*If you’d like to read more about the account of Sarah’s life, read Genesis 12-23.
Control is an interesting concept, isn’t it?
We are in control of so many areas of our lives, yet at the same time, we really AREN’T in control of much at all when you think about it.
Wrap your mind around that for a second…
We’re in control of simple things like, what we’re going to have for dinner tonight, what color to paint the living room, if we, “would like receipt with that” and yet, we are also in control of more complicated stuff like, career choices, what flowers we want in our wedding, naming our babies and choosing to have a joyful heart and good attitude through it all (because let’s be honest, decisions can be stressful).
We are not, however, in control of a lot of other really important factors in our lives like, who our parents are, the weather (wouldn’t it be lovely to not have a hurricane affect us this year?!), traffic patterns on I-4 and/or other people’s actions, etc., etc., etc. The list really could go on and on.
Since the first human breathed its first breath, mankind has been trying to take control out of God’s hands and placing it into our own. We’ve also been suffering the consequences for it. You’d think we’d have learned by now that trying to control what we can’t is a waste of our time and energy and causes us so much heartache and pain along the way.
Sarah provides us with such a real-life example of a woman that really and truly trusted God and yet doubted His plan for her life in a big way. The funny thing about Sarah is that she knew God was in control of her life. In fact, in Genesis 16 verse 2 she is quoted saying, “God has not seen fit to let me have a child.” She believes that “the LORD” is preventing her from having a baby. It’s interesting to note here too that at this point in her story, God has not yet promised Abraham a child specifically with Sarah. After some time Sarah decides that there really is no way that this is going to happen for them and that she must not be part of this “promise of descendants” He has for Abraham… and can we really blame her? She’s old and thinks it so impossible at this point in her life to have a child. She desires so badly for her husband to have what he’s been promised and she takes things into her own hands by telling him to sleep with her maid. Yikes!
Now, it’s really easy for us to sit back and judge Sarah for her choices because we know the end of her story. It’s easy for us to gasp and get hung up on her decision to intercede and come up with her own plan to make it happen for her husband. We know after reading through Genesis that God was faithful, He did bless both Sarah and Abraham in HIS way. He kept His promise. Sarah made a big mistake trying to do what she thought was right but had she seen a preview to the miracle that was about to happen, she most certainly would not have offered up her plan B to Abraham. (Side note: Isn’t it awesome that God still used her plan B to do good stuff for his Glory anyway?)
If we’re being really honest with ourselves though, we do the exact same thing in our own lives all the time. We believe in God. We know he is in control and we even have faith that He will do what He says he will do, and yet, we allow fear and doubt to creep into our thoughts. We let what we believe is impossible drive our actions and we often shot-block God’s plans with our own because well… things aren’t happening how we thought they would and forcing our way seems to be the ONLY way. We choose plan B when all along God was orchestrating a wonderful and beautiful plan A… more amazing than we could have ever imagined. We stop trusting him in our day-to-day choices because we think it is impossible for God to provide a miracle in our life.
Sarah had to learn the hard way. She still got her miracle baby. She still became an intricate part of history and His Story. God still used her in a mighty way and here we are today thousands of years later still reading her story and remembering through it what an incredible, faithful God we serve.
I don’t know what you’re facing in your own life today but I would encourage you to read Sarah’s story and remember that God really is in the miracle business. Allow him to prove it to you in His way.
What if we did our part in the things we can control like trusting God… like praying daily for His wisdom in our decision-making? What if we woke up and chose joy instead of doubt, comfort instead of discontent, and hope instead of fear. What if we started trusting His promises for our lives in big and small ways?
What if we allowed Him to show us His plans are good and His promises are true?
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
God, sometimes it’s hard to remember that you have a plan that I may not understand yet. Truthfully, sometimes it’s hard to believe that miracles happen every day and that they can happen in my life just as much as it happened for Sarah. I pray that I would do my part in the things I can control and trust you in the things I can’t. I pray that I would allow you to bless me in the ways you plan to without interceding along the way. Today I put (insert your miracle here) in your hands. I trust you have a plan and I trust you will be faithful. I believe that your plans are good and your promises are true. Amen
Today’s post was written by Amanda Sanders.
Amanda has been married to her high school sweetheart Matt for 12 years. Together they have three kids ages 10, 8 and 5. You can find her on Sunday mornings worshiping at our Real Life Kaley campus.