When I wrote about Hagar a few weeks ago, I mentioned Sarah as a central character in the story, but I kinda bashed her a little. I’ve felt a little guilty about it since then – are you allowed to say something negative about the matriarch of all Judaism and Christianity (and Islam, for that matter)? But, really, I just don’t care a whole lot for Sarah’s attitudes and behaviors.
I knew I’d eventually find something redeeming in her story, though (to read the whole thing, check out Genesis 11-23). She’s a major female figure in the Bible; I couldn’t totally throw her aside, no matter how unexemplary I thought she was. But, I didn’t anticipate finding that lesson quite so soon.
The other night, I was having a dramatic moment of feeling sorry for myself about something (as is frequently the case. #GrowthArea). My emotions were in upheaval, and as I was thinking/half-talking to God about it, I wondered who in the Bible might have felt as I did – what could I learn from his/her experience? (Side note: this going to the Bible for examples is a new thing for me – really since I’ve started this feature on the blog. Maybe that was the whole point?).
Anyway, immediately, Sarah popped into my head. Sarah is a woman who had long been promised something she had never seen fulfilled, and wouldn’t until she was 90. While the Bible doesn’t detail it, I can only imagine Sarah’s heart was broken over not being able to conceive, and I’m sure she spent many nights crying herself to sleep over crushed dreams and feelings of rejection or worthlessness. It probably seemed to her that all of her hopes would never be realized, no matter what God had said to Abraham, and the fact that she laughed when the angel told her she would become pregnant seems to prove she had completely given up.
Yet, God had not given up on her, nor would He, despite Sarah’s best attempts to mess up everything. Sarah’s attitude was terrible, yet God honored His promises to her. She laughed at His messenger, yet He blessed her with her heart’s desire. She tried to make things happen herself by giving Hagar to Abraham, only to turn around and scorn the servant woman and her son; yet, God’s goodness remained steady, and in His faithfulness and love, He upheld His end of the bargain.
How many times are we like Sarah? I know that my attitude is often embarrassingly poor, my trust in God plummets, and I try my hardest to mess up all His plans through my sin and stubbornness – intentionally or unintentionally. I say I believe His promises, that He is always good, and that His plans for me are for my benefit, but when push comes to shove, I don’t always act like that’s true.
But, no matter how many times we act like Sarah, God still acts like God. No matter what we do to push Him away, He always comes back. He never forgets or neglects to fulfill His promises to us, and in this kindness, He woos us back to His side, time and time again.
Are there dreams in your life that are unfulfilled, or promises that you’ve yet to see come to pass? Don’t give up hope – God will come through, even if we have to wait until we’re 90. And, don’t condemn yourself if you’ve messed up. Of course you have. We all have – probably in more ways than we even know. But, God is bigger than that, and His love is not conditional on our behavior.
So, chin up! Do something nice for yourself today – a Starbucks treat, a walk around the block, a pedicure, new shoes – and consider it a gift from the Lord who loves you and will fulfill all that He has promised at the most perfect time.
I picked Lilly Pulitzer as the basis of today’s outfit, in part, because I’m making a (VERY) subtle statement of my displeasure that Target sold out of their Lilly line in literally minutes and I got none. 🙁 But, also, because Lilly is a symbol of wealth and the care-free life it theoretically affords. I can just picture 90 year old gorgeous Sarah hanging out in West Palm, sipping her green smoothie, and sporting the latest in colorful resort wear, can’t you?