“Ha! Yeah that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.”
Have you ever stared in the face of impossibility and doubted the promises of God, even venting your anger and frustration to God and others? I know I have, and perhaps you have too.
I was reading through Genesis recently, and a particular story stood out to me. It is the story of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah in Genesis 17 and 18. God comes to Abraham first, and he changes his name from Abram, meaning ‘exalted father’ to Abraham (father of a multitude). He then promises that he will give him a son from his ninety year old wife, and he will “establish his covenant with him as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.” (Genesis 17:7).
Can you imagine, for a second what this would be like? Sarah is ninety years old! She doesn’t even have a hope of conceiving a child at this point. Even today, in our world of In-Vitro fertilization this would be unheard of. So for God to make this kind of promise to Abraham, it means that Abraham is going to have to make a choice. He has to choose between what he sees and what he knows to be true about God. Is he going to see with his natural eyes, or his spiritual eyes? Abraham’s reaction is that falls facedown before God, and circumcises the males of his household in obedience to God. He takes God at his word and trusts that He is able to accomplish what he has promised, fulfilling His side of the covenant, after Abraham has fulfilled his part.
Now let’s look at Sarah’s reaction. After hearing that she is going to have a baby, she says, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’ (Gen 18:12). It seems as if she is saying, ‘ Oh, well it’s a little late now! You could have thought of me seventy years earlier!’ Her laugh is not one of joy, but of sarcasm laced with bitterness. It holds years of hope turned to heartache and waiting turned to weariness. She has not yet learned to accept that the Lord’s timing is perfect, not a day too late, or too early.
God keeps his promise, and a year later Sarah gives birth to Isaac, whose name means laughter. He gives them the gift of true, joy-filled, hope-filled laughter. Isaac is a sign to them that God will not fail to keep His word, and that He does all things well.
So how are you doing? In the midst of these uncertain times, what kind of laugh do you have? Is it a laugh of faith for the future, or one of cynicism? Are you trusting in God who is your rock, and who keeps His promises, or are you trusting in your supply of food and toilet paper to get you through? The Lord is utterly trustworthy, and will carry the weight of your burdens. Lean on Him today, friend. He will not fail you.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.