We’re in the final week of our study on Sarah. It has been an amazing six weeks, from looking at Sarah’s identity as a barren woman, to her marriage to Abraham, to her terrible decision to take matters into her own hands. Then we saw God give her and Abraham a new name and remind her of his promises to her.
Finally, this week, at the age of 90, Sarah becomes pregnant and has a child.
“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, at the very time God had promised him.” Genesis 21:1-2.
Happy 90th Birthday! You’re going to be a mother!
Can you even imagine becoming a mother at 90? Even if Sarah didn’t age quite as we do today, she was definitely past the age of childbearing – last week, we saw her call herself ‘worn-out.’
But God had not forgotten her. Despite her mistakes, He was gracious to her. He forgave her lack of faith and her treatment of Hagar, and He blessed her.
God keeps His promises
The word ‘promised’ appears twice in this verse. It’s reinforced by the phrases ‘as he had said’ and ‘the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised.’ Not only that, but it’s ‘at the very time.’ This child was conceived and born in God’s timing, not Abraham and Sarah’s.
I appreciate this must be incredibly difficult to read if you’re going through infertility. When we’re waiting on God’s promises, it is so difficult to have faith. We may lose faith, and then wonder if God is punishing us. But Sarah’s story here gives encouragement: she did lose faith, and she even laughed when she was told of God’s promise, but He still did fulfil that promise.
Is it helpful, to read Sarah’s story when facing infertility? After all, it’s what we know Sarah for: she was the wife of Abraham, and then the mother of Isaac. The mother of nations.
But there’s so much more to Sarah than that. I feel that she was really… human. There was no superpower about her (except coping with a newborn at 90) but in her questioning God, and her desire to take matters into her own hands, she was so human.
But, as we saw in Eve, God made us human. He understands our weaknesses; He understood Sarah’s weakness. He understood her shame and pain in her infertility. I’m sure He understands our pain and shame too.
The mystery of God
But why did God make Sarah wait for so long? The passage clearly tells us that Isaac was born ‘at the time God promised.’ It seems cruel to make Sarah and Abraham wait for such a long time.
Well, we don’t know. Perhaps it was so we could clearly see that it was a miracle, a divine intervention: the long-awaited child born to a woman who was barren. It’s a story that is repeated several times in the Bible, in Hannah, in Elisabeth, and foreshadows the birth of Jesus himself.
We don’t know what else Sarah was going through. We’re only told her story in a few chapters – much too little to give a really complete picture of her life. So we can only speculate.
But we can have faith that it was in God’s timing. We can trust in Him to keep his promises. We know that he understands our humanity, our weaknesses, our faults. But He still keeps His promises.
In Whose Shoes?
If you want to find out who our next character is, you will need to tune in to Mummy Meditations Live on Sunday night over on my Facebook Page. All will be revealed then!