Life Lessons From Sarai’s Story
Sarai was Abram’s wife. She had been promised a son from God, but yet, at 75 years old, she was still barren. And so they went about to help God fulfill His promises by making an heir through her Egyptian servant, Hagar. After all, they had already waiting 75 years for a child!
We are not unlike like Sarah in our impatience with God. We get disillusioned with what what we perceive as God’s impotence. Why? Because we are left in our circumstances and disappointments for what can last for decades at a time. Or in the case of Israel, hundreds of years of slavery in Egypt. And for the world at large, even thousands of years before Jesus showed up.
And so in frustration, we turn back to Egypt for results. Like Sarai, we take results into our own hands, because clearly God is doing what He promises us (in our mortal time frame that is). But the problem with turning to Egypt for help, is that Pharaoh is a servant of the serpent.
When we turn to the world for hope, we are turning to Satan for help. A request he is more than happy to pretend to fulfill. His ways pay dividend quickly. Yet, in the end, you are left more empty than when you I started. In this pursuit of Egypt, we end up serving the golden calf, as it were, because like Moses, Jesus is takes too long getting back down from the mountain.
And so when Sarai saw how easy it was for Hagar, the Egyptian, to became pregnant, she became angry and treated her harshly. We can do the same thing when we see evil people easily succeeding where we cannot. Just like Sarai’s children, we become stuck in the desert of unbelief, believing our slavery in Egypt was better than serving God in the misery of the wilderness.
Yet, in spite of all her unbelief, Sarah did eventually have a son. Though it took what must have seemed like forever. God did do what He promised. And like Sarah, we have to go through the same time in the crockpot. There is no microwave wisdom. And it can literally take an entire lifetime. But God will actually follow through on what He promises us.
Yet the process took so long, Sarai and Abraham both rolled their eyes and cynically laughed at God when He said it was time. And we do exactly the same thing. It’s why prayer is so difficult. It’s why faith is so weak. Because our unbelief isn’t based in God’s follow through, it’s really based in the suffering we experience along the way.
Nearly 50 years passed between the promise God gave Sarai and when Abraham raised the knife over Isaac in faith. Nearly 400 years passed before God eventually delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt. And it was 40 years of wilderness wandering before Israel entered the promised land. But enter it they did.
And so will we. Regardless of the two millennia that have passed since Jesus promised to return and conquer death for all of us, just as He did. But we have to recognize, the question isn’t if God will do what He promises; the question is when… even if it is after our death.
Hebrews 11:11-16 (NLT)
“It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise. And so a whole nation came from this one man who was as good as dead—a nation with so many people that, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore, there is no way to count them. All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”