Monday, August 17, 2015

Sarah - jumping ahead of God

I know, I know, we studied Sarah last week!
But there is so much more than what we saw . . .

Have you noticed that some of the hardest times in our lives to handle are the times when our Father God seems to be a million miles away from us? Do you have difficulty when God seems to not answer your prayers? Then this week's study is for you.  And since I bet we all nodded yes to those questions, this study is for me, and you, and you, and you, too. (Grin)

Sometimes it seems as if God is giving us the silent treatment. Job must have felt something like this, when he wondered where God was. In his case, it was more like "where is God when I'm hurting?"

                      But if I go to the east, he is not there;
                        if I go to the west, I do not find him.
               When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
                       when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
                                                                                                              (Job 23:8-9)
We may be facing a difficult situation right now. We might be wondering where God is. Perhaps it is an illness that we are dealing with. In the midst of the pain and the fatigue, we may wonder if God notices. Perhaps we are dealing with a rebellious child, and we've asked God to help; but instead of coming back to their faith, they just dive deeper into rebellion. Perhaps someone that we love is unable to shake off the lure of drugs or alcohol; we may wonder if God is listening when we pray. Perhaps we ourselves are the victims of abuse -- the pain is deep, and won't go away. We might be wondering if God even cares. Or perhaps we have a decision to make, and there is no clear picture as to what direction we should follow.

And God is silent.

Sarah was a woman who became very frustrated with God's silence. She wanted desperately to have a child. In fact, the Lord had even promised her that she would have a son (remember last week?).
But it just hadn't happened yet.
The scholars tell us that ten years had passed. Sarah had yet to conceive a child. She was growing older, and each day it looked more impossible for her to get pregnant.
We can imagine how impatient Sarah and Abraham must have been . . . "God, we want a son so badly; where are you? What about your promise?"

Let's look now at Genesis 16:

                    Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no 
              children. But she had an Egyptian slave named 
              Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has 
              kept me from having children. Go, sleep with 
              my slave; perhaps I can build a family through 
              her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram 
              had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took 
              her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband 
              to be his wife.
                                                                                                      (Genesis 16:1-3)

Do you think at this point, that Sarah even remembered the promise from God? Remember where He took Abraham outside his tent, and told him to look at the heavens? He told him that his offspring would be just as numerous as the stars in the sky! (Genesis 15)

I know that she had nothing at this point that would encourage her to be optimistic. But what an awesome promise!

Many of us know from experience that one of the hardest things to do in this life is to wait on God. That was what Sarah was doing. Waiting for God to "come through" after His promise. Many preachers will intone, "God is never in a hurry, but yet He is never late." Oy. I always felt like that cheapened what some of us are dealing with. It's the truth, yes, but to make it into a cliche?

Here is what I'd rather think about: for us humans, dealing with God's timing takes knowledge of Who He is. And a realization that God's view of time is far different than ours.

                    But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is
                    like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 
                    (II Peter 3:8)

In other words, for a God Who spoke the worlds into existence, and created all that is on them, a thousand years is not really a long time! For an eternal God, that might just be like a day. So if we apply this to Sarah's situation, ten years of waiting must have seemed like an eternity to Sarah; anxious to bear a child and hold and love it, it seemed like such a long, long time. But to God, it was just a few seconds. To the great I AM, a few years on earth seems like a few seconds, because He holds eternity in His hands. And we must sometimes appear to Him to be impatient children, clamoring from the back seat -- when will it happen? When?

Well, Sarah got so impatient with God's silence that she convinced hubby Abraham to go along with a downright sinful plan . . .

We'll talk about that next time.


Austin Towers said...

We can learn so much from Sarah's story! You are absolutely right! God's plan encompasses time and eternity. For our own lives, though we get really stressed when we don't see things happening/changing, we have to leave it to Him because a) He's got it all under control and b) He loves us each individually! Amazing! Hugs, Caro xx

Belinda said...

But it's so very hard to wait on God!!! Part of me can totally understand Sarah's impatience. But we KNOW God's timng is perfect. His ways and mind are so much higher than ours. We are like children who pester their parents for something, or continually ask, "Are we there yet?!" I sometimes wonder if He is thinking, "Just hold your horses!!! I SAID I would take care of it." :-) lol