She was sixty-five years old when they decided to go for it. They would pursue the promise. A grand promise. A promise of land, offspring, and blessing (Genesis 12:1-3). Her husband had seen the vision . . . he had heard the Voice. They were to be going, even if not knowing. So Abram went, and she went with him. The adventure had begun. Though they were getting a bit beyond mid-life, this was no response to a mid-life crisis, this was the pursuit of the promise from God.
Fast forward some 62 years later (Genesis 23). Her lifeless body lays in a cave in the land of promise. Her husband mourns and weeps for her. And he reflects on the “return on investment” from their 60+ year pursuit of the promise. Land? Just the field where the cave was that now housed her still body. Offspring? One son . . . only one son. Blessing? Sure, they had accumulated some wealth along the way, but it wasn’t clear at all as to how, through them, all the families of the earth would be blessed.
Hmmm . . . Not much to show for over half a century of pursuing the promise.
So what was it that compelled Sarah to follow Abraham on such a hair-brained dream? And to keep following? To stick with it as year after year passed with no land to their name and no children in their house? As I noodle on it, God’s divine commentary on Sarah’s life comes to mind . . .
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. (Hebrews 11:11 ESV)
It wasn’t her confidence in Abraham that propelled her to keep on keepin’ on . . . after all, how many times can a woman take being disguised as her husband’s sister. He was a good man . . . but he could get kinda’ flaky at times. Rather, it was her confidence in her God. She counted Him faithful. Even when it was hard to believe at times, she considered the Promiser worthy of a consecrated life even if the promise was yet to be fully realized.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16 ESV)
Though she had but one son when she breathed her last . . . though the only promised land she possessed was that possessed posthumously . . . she had considered Him faithful and responded in kind. She had continued to look to the homeland of His promise . . . had continued to believe that if He could enable a barren woman, way past child-bearing age, to give birth to a son, then He could raise up from that son a nation. Like her husband, I’m thinking she grew strong in faith, gave glory to God, “fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised” (Rom. 4:19-21).
I’m kind of inspired by Sarah this morning. Kind of encouraged as I look to continue my own pursuit of the promise in 2015. Realizing afresh that the reward is not always found in receiving all that is promised. But that the prize will be awarded for the pursuit . . . for the race well run . . . for the servant who hears, “Well done.”
O’ to be a Sarah . . .
By God’s grace . . . for God’s glory.