Rev. Regina Davis-Sowers, PhD
Genesis 21:1-7 The Lord kept his word and did for Sarah exactly what he had promised. She became pregnant, and she gave birth to a son for Abraham in his old age. This happened at just the time God had said it would. And Abraham named their son Isaac. Eight days after Isaac was born, Abraham circumcised him as God had commanded. Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. And Sarah declared, “God has brought me laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me. Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!”
One of the hardest aspects of dreaming is the waiting for our change to come! Often, the wait is so long that, to protect our sanity, we give up on our dreams, losing faith in them ever being fulfilled. We begin to look at all the obstacles, and we conclude that there is no way the dream can come true now. But, in the story today, we see that God kept his promises to Sarah, and her dream of having a child, a son for her husband, came true, even though she was in her 90s, supposedly past the point of fertility.
When Abraham was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, referring to Himself as El Shaddai-God Almighty. He promised that if Abraham served Him faithfully and lived a blameless life, then He would guarantee him countless descendants, and Abraham would become the father of many nations. God told Abraham that He would bless Sarah and give Abraham a son by her, and that she would become the mother of many nation, with kings among her descendants. But, Sarah was barren, unable to give him children, and was approaching her ninth decade, a time long past the body’s ability to conceive a child.
Well, you can imagine his disbelief at the absurdity of him becoming a father at age 100, and with Sarah, no less, who was old, too. He attempted to get God to give the blessings through Ismael, the son born from an ill-advised attempt to make God’s promises come true earlier than God’s time. When Sarah was told that she was to have a child at age 90, she, like her husband, laughed at what she considered to be a preposterous claim. In Genesis 18:12, it states, “So she laughed silently to herself and said, ‘How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master-my husband-is also so old?’”
Sarah had waited so long for the dream to come true, enduring the humiliations and sorrow of the stigmas that accompanied childlessness in her culture, and which still exists today, that she simply could not believe that the dream was finally to be fulfilled. Sarah and Abraham were thinking with human minds, which tend to think in terms of what can or cannot be done according to the natural world. They completely disregarded the fact that it was El Shaddai, God Almighty, making the promise, and that He has overcome the natural world and is capable of miracles that seem humanly impossible. Indeed, when God heard her laugh, He said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” (Genesis 18:13-15, emphasis added). Sarah denied she had laughed, but God hears even our silent thoughts.
But, Praise be to God, the Scriptures today tells us that God kept His word, and Sarah became a mother at age 90! What joy filled the home of Sarah and Abraham, as young Isaac was circumcised eight days after his birth, as prescribed by God. Just reading Sarah’s testimony brings such joy to my heart. She acknowledged that God has brought her laughter. This laughter was fully approved. She asked, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse a baby? Yet I have given Abraham a son in his old age!” Can’t you just feel her happiness! Sarah learned that The Lord is faithful to His promises and capable of great feats that seem impossible to us humans.
That is still the hope for us today, whatever our dreams may be. Waiting for dreams to come true produces fear, worry, doubt, and hopelessness. Our sense of peace is forfeited, mainly because we think with human minds, forgetting that all things are possible, if we believe in El Shaddai-God Almighty. If our dreams are according to His will, then he will bring them to pass in His own way and in His own time. It may seem as though nothing will ever work in your favor, but keep trusting in God until your change comes.
A gospel song by the late Reverend James Cleveland states, “My way may not be easy. You did not say that it would be. But when it gets dark, I can’t see my way, you told me to put my trust in Thee. That’s why I’m asking you, Oh, Lord, help me to hold out, until my change has come.” Take it from someone knows: God will give you the strength and the fortitude to hold on. My dream of earning a PhD and teaching college took so long that people started telling me to quit school because I was wasting my money, for no university or college would hire someone at the age I would be when I completed the program. Well, I was age 54, and I have had the blessing and pleasure to teach some amazing students and human beings at four wonderful universities, and will return to teaching this Fall, after a one-semester retirement!
Too often, we give up on our dreams, for many different reasons, including cultural beliefs about appropriate age behaviors. An oft-heard comment is, “It’s too late. I’m too old.” But, in today’s Scripture, we find that, for God, age is just a number that does not signify what one can or cannot do. As more people around the world live to older ages, and as long as the fastest-growing age group in America is people 85 years and up, dreams are possible at ever-older ages. But, more importantly, do not forget that the One who holds the world in His hands, is holding you, and He knows the directions and plans that He has for you. Hold on to the dream, and step out in faith, believing that there truly is nothing too hard for God.
Father in Heaven,
What a great story of Your faithfulness and ability to do what humans believe is impossible? Lord, today, see the dreams and hopes of Your people, and give us patience to endure until You bring change into our lives. Waiting is hard, but Your word tells us that those who wait on You will have their strength renewed and will soar one day as on eagles’ wings! That is a promise I believe. Thank you for the blessing of breath today! Thank you for all our senses that allow us to enjoy life to the fullest. In Jesus’s Name. Amen.