“Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.” 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 lord 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.”’
Grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, Amen.
Last week we talked about how God’s plan, it can seem like it’s impossible to us. We can’t quite comprehend it, so we tend to try and shrug it off or make our own plans and fit it within what our Heavenly Father has planned for. The truth is that when we have difficulty with what God promises and what we believe we know, when they contradict each other we can find it hard to believe what God tells us and the assurances that He offers us.
That was the case with Sarah.
Even if it wasn’t passed her time, she couldn’t conceive because she was barren. The fact that she couldn’t offer an heir to her husband, it was a source of shame and jealousy for her. It wasn’t that she didn’t try. More than likely she spent countless nights praying, crying out to the Lord for the blessing of a child. She offered her slave Hagar up as a wife to her husband, somehow believing that she would be able to raise the child as his heir if she conceived. Yet that just seemed to heap more pain upon her. Now though, to hear the visitors from the Lord promise Abraham, her husband, that by this time next year she would have a child, it had to almost seem as if they were taunting an old lady, piling scorn onto her shame.
What would you do? What would you say or do if you heard someone say that you would be blessed with that which you knew to be impossible? It might as well have been that they said that she would suddenly grow wings and fly. It was just as feasible as a barren 90-year-old woman conceiving a child and giving birth to a healthy boy who would be the father of many great nations.
Yet the lesson that we derive from the story of Sarah is the same lesson that we take from the early chapters of the Book of Ecclesiastes. Our wisdom is meaningless, it holds nothing compared to the transcending, encompassing wisdom of our all-powerful, all-knowing Heavenly Father. From Him, and by Him we then come to learn that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) We may not understand that timing, we may not understand the passage of those seasons, but there is a purpose and meaning behind them that God, in His infinite knowledge does, and He works within it to make it happen according to a divine and holy plan of His making. That is why we must, as David reminds us in the 27th Psalm, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)
Yes, it’s hard at times, to wait on the Lord, to be patient with Him and His plan for us. It can be difficult to believe that God’s word and His plan is true when it takes too long or leads us down a road that we didn’t expect it to bring us along. It can lead us to down a path of doubt as we struggle and we toil with the idea that maybe God was wrong, maybe He just doesn’t understand like we thought we did, like maybe He is more like His creation than we care to admit as we question the Divine. These thoughts they swirl through our head, twist and turning as they tie us in knots and leaving us to question so much of what we once thought we knew.
Remember, this is the God who “has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11) That means it takes faith on our part, faith and trust in the will and the power of the Divine Architect of the Universe, understanding that it He will make things work for us according to the blessings that He has set out for us. Sure, that means that, at times, He’s going to tell us that this is not the right time or we don’t need to know right now, that we need to give it time to see with clarity and understand with His wisdom. Yet, what we must take hold of in those moments is the realization that the reason we are meant to wait, the reason that He has laid out the time that He has is because we are not ready. It is not a failing on His part, but rather an incompleteness on our part that He needs to lead us through to prepare us to meet not just the blessings that He has but the demands those blessings will bring to us.
What we must do is take hold of the assurance that this God, our God, our Heavenly Father, He is the God of Faithfulness. As He promises to Joshua when He tells him, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) so he tells us in love, hope and mercy as He takes us by the hand and leads us through the foggy haze, beyond which we are able to see, to the places where He wants and needs us to be in our lives. This is, after all, the God who created all, and who rises above it all, who forms life by His hand, and leads His people down the path of His righteousness. When He leads us, as He leads us He does so in the complete understanding that as He moves seas are parted and the earth stops as He demands.
Ours then, dear Brothers and Sisters, isn’t to doubt the Divine Will of God, nor is it to scoff at it. It is to overcome our fear and our doubt, to take it and lay it before the feet of the Almighty and look to Him in awe at all that He has done for us, and all that He promises to us. Take a moment to meditate on the words of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah, ‘“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. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”’ (Jeremiah 29:11-12) These are as true for you as they were for Him. This, after all, is a God who will challenge your comfort zones, who will challenge the conventional and the mainstream as He guides you according to His will, showing you that nothing is too hard or impossible for Him. Yet, even in that, He is also a God who will, as He had for Abraham and Sarah, reassure you in the promises that He has made to you.
No matter how foolish or silly it may seem, no matter how difficult or seemingly impossible you may feel it is God wants you to take hold of the destiny that He has for you. He wants you to look upon His plan for your life with confidence. Yes, there are times, when it is going to perhaps seem like it is so outlandish that you can’t help but laugh, but make that a laugh of joy knowing that the God of incredible and immeasurable has taken it upon Himself to uplift and elevate you, making that which seems unachievable attainable and that which seems hopeless inevitable as He whispers to you that it is just a matter of time before it is all laid out before you. Push aside the doubt, the hesitation and the uncertainty and fix your eyes upon Him realizing that He is showing you more than you could ever have imagined seeing as He draws back the curtain of this world to reveal that it is so much more than it seems.
It is then that you will find an element of the true measure of worth that God places on you and your life as He weaves Himself throughout it, giving so freely unto you in hope for your future even as He, through the power of the Spirit, leads you to redemption through the ultimate impossible plan that He made possible through the blood and the sacrifice of His Son, our Redeemer, Christ Jesus.
Now may the peace of the Lord, that transcending, encompassing peace keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus even unto life everlasting, Amen.