Stage Four (Genesis 18)
by Bob Whitaker
Once again, I invite you to explore Abraham’s faith with me today. I’m calling this stage, “Trust me when it seems foolish.” An intriguing story develops in Genesis 18. It had been a long time since God originally promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. They have reached the age when it seems foolish to trust. Then the promise is once again renewed for Abraham and Sarah – this renewal comes with an angelic visit. And this time the promise is attached to a date – the angel promises that within one year they will have a son. When Sarah hears this inside the tent she laughs out loud – this is impossible at her age. Now, think about it. Who can blame her for laughing? She is almost 90. Remember Sarah has been listening to this promise for 25 years. Who can blame her if she thinks this latest promise is foolish?
Often, we forget that Sarah was also in this journey of faith – she has to trust, too. She may have thought to herself, “This crazy husband of mine has come home with new promises for the last 25 years.” In order to believe God, she has to believe her husband. She has to believe that there is an invisible God who speaks to him and gives him instructions that seem foolish. When she laughed at this news it might have been a way of saying this: “Don’t play with my emotions again! Don’t insult my intelligence! Don’t mock me! I’ve heard this promise over and over again! I need more than words!” Again, who can blame her for thoughts like that?
This is real life and as you read this story and vicariously feel the pain of Sarah, maybe it seems like your story. Maybe you have been trusting God. You have been following God, worshipping God, being faithful, but you are exhausted. It seems like the promises of God are for others but not for you. I don’t want to belittle your pain, but I do want to encourage you to continue in faith. I hope that you can trust God even when it seems foolish. It doesn’t mean that you will get the outcome you were looking for, but it does mean that you will have a loving God at your side. It is that God, the God of promises that says, ”I will never leave you or forsake you and where I am, someday you will be there with me.” Life might not always turn out the way we want it but the promise of eternal life will eclipse all the trouble that we experience here and now. Trust the God who promises eternal life, because as the Psalmist said, “In his presence there is fullness of joy, at his right hand are pleasures forevermore.”