Friday, April 30, 2010

"Is Anything Too Hard for the Lord?": Sarah's Birth Story

I really love Sarah's birth story. We don't actually get to hear how she physically gave birth to Issac, which is too bad because personally I would love to hear how a woman who was almost 100 years old handled childbirth, but we do get to hear a lot about her journey towards becoming a mother for the first time.


Jan Provost's "Abraham, Sarah and the Angel", 1520

Sarah was ninety years old when three holy men unexpectedly came to visit Abraham's tent (Gen 18). Abraham and Sarah scrabbled to get food and drink ready for them and once Abraham sat down to eat with them they asked, "Where is Sarah thy wife?" It is significant that they ask for Sarah, the new name God had given her when He made his everlasting covenant with her and Abraham (Gen. 17). Once they knew that Sarah was within hearing distance in the tent behind them (it wouldn't have been culturally appropriate for women to eat with men) they told Abraham, "... I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. (Gen. 18:10) " This wasn't new news to Abraham, he had know that Sarah would bare a child for awhile because the Lord had told him way back in Genesis 17. Apparently he hadn't shared this good news with Sarah because when she heard what the three holy men said she was shocked. We read that she, "laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? (Gen. 18:12)"

Sarah was an old woman and had already gone through menopause, probably 30 years before. By any medical standard, ancient or modern, it would have been physically impossible for Sarah to bear a child. It sounds like Sarah even doubted Abraham's ability, as a 100 year old man, to even be able to sire a child. It is no wonder that she laughed, that she doubted, what the holy men told her. She had probably given up hoping for a child years ago and she knew it would take a miracle, a literal miracle, for her to become a mother at such an old age. Yet the most beautiful part of this story is what the Lord tells Abraham, "Wherefore did Sarah laugh... Is any thing too hard for the Lord? (Gen. 18: 13-14)" What a beautiful phrase for every woman to remember; whether she is struggling with infertility, struggling with a hard pregnancy, a hard labor, or struggling with raising a difficult child, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

Obviously nothing is because in Genesis 21:1-2 we see that "... the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did unto Sarah as he had spoken. For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him." I wish that we had more information about this visit that the Lord gives Sarah before she conceives. It may have been similar to the visit that Abraham received (Gen. 17) or it may have been completely different. I think the significant thing is to know that Sarah received a personal visit from God before she became a mother. In a very real way every woman whose womb is "opened" receives a visit from God since it is from Him that all life comes. It is also very true that women, who are ready and willing for them, often receive personal visits from God during their pregnancies and labors. These visits take many different forms: dreams, visions, whisperings of the spirit, ministrations from angels-- on earth and above, feelings of peace, tender mercies, answers to prayers, and many other ways. I think that one of them most important things that Sarah's birth story teaches us is that, even if it seems impossible, God will answer the deepest desires of our hearts and personally give us the knowledge and strength we need to accomplish it. "Nothing is impossible with the Lord" should be every woman's new motto... it wouldn't hurt to tape it on your bathroom mirror:)


"Is Anything too Hard For the Lord?" by Elspeth Young

What We Can Learn From Her Story:
  • All conception and life comes from God. If He wills it, even women who are physically unable to bear children will;
  • Nothing is too hard for the Lord;
  • Never give up hope... even when there is no logical reason to have hope;
  • Birth is a miracle. We often don't realize how precious and miraculous it is until it is taken away;
  • The Lord often sends "holy men (and women)" into our lives to teach us certain lessons and to deliver his messages;
  • God keeps His promises;
  • The Lord personally visits women, in many different ways, before and during their pregnancies.
Questions to think about:
  • Who do you think the three holy men were who came to visit Abraham and Sarah? Why would God send them? Why didn't He just let Sarah get pregnant? Why did he send someone to tell her before hand?
  • We know that the Abraham covenant (Genesis 17) was made not only with Abraham but also with Sarah. Why do you think that the Lord made her wait so long to become a mother? What sort of lessons does waiting teach us?
  • How did the Lord "visit" you before, during or after your pregnancy and labor?

2 comments:

  1. I always feel like I have absolutely nothing to say or add when I read your posts except... THIS IS AWESOME! :-) Your insights, as usual, just blow me away.

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  2. Hi!
    I just wanted to say thanks for
    1) this post. It is just what I needed to see.
    2) leaving such kind comments on my blog a few days ago. You truly made my day and my week.
    3) for your blog. I can't wait to read it all!

    I will look into sending my angel baby's birth story to Felice. Thanks for the recommendation. I would love to be able to help other women from my experience.
    Kate

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