Frequently throughout the Bible we will come across stories of individuals, men and women, who failed, sinned or just plain blew it. These are men and women whose actions, or reactions, were not consistent with God’s character. Whom God met in the midst of their issues and their mess, and whom God still used.
One of these stories centers around a woman named Sarah. Sarah, also known as Sarai, had a lot going for her. She was married to a very successful man named Abram, whose name later changed to Abraham. The thing that caused Sarah to stand out among the others was her exceptional beauty. The Bible declares that she was unusually beautiful. In fact, as we discover in Genesis chapter 11, she was 65 years old and yet still considered to be a knock-out.
However, with all that Sarah had going her way, there was still one thing that was missing. Sarah was barren. She did not have a child. For a Jewish woman not to have a child, it was almost akin to a curse. With all of the other great things in her life, Sarah’s inability to conceive, incubate and deliver life was not there. Her capacity for bearing life was missing.
Sarah’s physical reality yesterday in the context of the Old Testament is a lot of people’s spiritual reality today. They may have a lot going for them, but the ability to house life isn’t there. The ability to hold within them the “abundant life” that has been promised to us by Jesus doesn’t seem to be present. So instead, they simply exist, going through the routine and the motions with a sense of barrenness.
Perhaps you know someone like that? Or perhaps you are someone like that? You are characterized by loneliness because you’re barren relationally. You are characterized by defeat because you are barren in terms of your own success goals that have not yet been reached. Maybe your dreams have been shattered, or your family didn’t quite turn out the way you had once envisioned it to be. Whatever it is, you no longer experience within you the full, abundant life you once had hoped for.
The great thing about God, as we see from the life of Sarah, is that it’s never too late for Him to turn things around. We read,
“Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for Sarah your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name.’ I will bless her, and indeed I will give you a son by her. Then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her.”
Naming, in the Bible, was much more than just ascribing nomenclature. Naming had to do with creating a new identity. The word “Sarah” means Princess or Noblewoman. In essence, God is saying that He is going to do something special through her. He is giving her a uniquely designed, personal destiny.
Now, it doesn’t look like the destiny God is giving her is even possible because she can’t get pregnant. In fact, when God had given the promise earlier to Abraham that He was going to make his descendants great, Sarah had turned to the flesh to try and fulfill a spiritual reality. She had offered her maidservant, Hagar, to her husband to bear a child for him. Yet despite Sarah’s doubt, God promised that He was still going to bless and use her for His kingdom’s agenda.
Life can do that to us sometimes, can’t it? It can reach a point of apparent hopelessness so much so that we no longer believe that God can, or will, intervene. Rather than continuing to walk in faith, we begin to take things into our own hands and look for our own solutions. We come up with our own Hagar to try and solve what seems like is impossible.
But the lesson from the life of Sarah is one that I hope you will hang onto, grasp and own. It is never too late, nor have we ever strayed too far, that God is not able to make good on all that He intends to do for you. You have a destiny and God’s response to you is no different than His response to Sarah when she laughed at the thought of herself bearing a child in her old age. God said in verse 18, “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?”
What you believe about the answer to that question will either make or break you.
The answer, of course, is “No.” Walk in that truth.