Sarah: Genesis 16-21
I've started an online bible study with If:Equip through my sister and some of her friends. We are reading through the Old Testament and learning about eight women over eight weeks who were imperfect, yet still used for the kingdom. This week, we are reading about Sarah. Her story resonates with me for so many reasons, but I am going to try and somehow make them succinct and orderly.
Where this reading begins, in chapter 16, Sarai (not yet Sarah) takes her story into her own hands. The feminist in me is like YEAH GIRL POWER, but the Christian in me cringes. The Lord made her a promise! Who is she to think that she is better than the Lord? How on Earth could her plan be better than what the creator of the universe has promised? Of course, we know, from reading the story, that her plan unleashes jealousy and sadness and hurt for all those involved.
Ishmael is born from Hagar and the two are continually and eventually completely shunned/rejected by Sarah and Abraham. Though they remain in the favor of the Lord, imagine being in Hagar's shoes. She is told to do something by Sarah, then hated by Sarah for doing that exact thing! Think of Sarah's point of view. She makes a mistake by deciding that her plan is better than the Lord's; her plan succeeds, and she has to live with this permanent reminder that she messed up. When I sin, I want no remnants of it whatsoever. I can't imagine having to live with a tangible reminder of my mistake and my arrogance. It makes perfect sense to me that Sarah's heart would turn dark against Hagar and Ishmael.
We see again in chapter 17 and 18 that Abraham and Sarah both laugh at the Lord when he tells them that they will have a son. Abraham even asks if Ishmael can have the blessing instead, as if he is saying "Hey, I already did half the work, just finish the job. I made it easier for you!" But the Lord does NOT need our help. He has his own plan that will unfold in His time, not ours.
I think the hardest part of having faith is waiting. My generation is so used to getting what we want as soon as we want it. Delayed gratification is not really a thing anymore, but it is exactly what we have to have when it comes to the Lord. We have to wait. When we do things of our own accord, we can't see the repercussions that may be lurking just a few steps down the road. We may be inadvertently causing ourselves, as well as those around us, immeasurable hurt and sorrow that could have been avoided, had we just simply waited and had faith. This is our call. To wait. To have faith.
In Genesis 17:1, the Lord commands Abraham to "walk before me faithfully and be blameless." It's not just my opinion -- it's a command. And being blameless sounds pretty good to me, so I think I'm just going to keep trying to walk faithfully, even when it is hard, trusting that the Lord knows better than I do. If he can use Sarah, I hope he can use me, too.