May 23, 2014

Lessons on Waiting From Sarah

Abigail and Dolley readers in the first grade, my teacher wrote on my report card that I was a bright student and a sweet girl but that I needed to learn patience with others.  It was a Christian School and I have no doubt that those words were given to her by the Holy Spirit.  God loves and disciplines His children and apparently this was an area He felt I needed to work on the most!  From that moment on, He began to put people and situations in my life that would develop patience.

Four decades later, I am still learning.  My idea of a patient person is one who is patient in all things, who waits in serenity and peace, and who casts cares upon the Lord with nonchalance.  The question becomes does such a person really exist or are we patient by degrees or in certain situations?  If utter paragons of patience are at one end of the spectrum and toddlers (both physical and spiritual) are at the other, where might you fall?  Further, are there some situations/people where your patience is inexhaustible but others where you fly off the handle at the least little thing?

What about long term desires and unfulfilled dreams?  I like to use Sarah as my model for patience in the Bible.  I identify with her.  We always focus on the fact that she waited 25 years for the promise of the Lord to come true but we do not consider that she had always been childless, that the longing and wishing for a child went well beyond 25 years.  I am sure there were many months she cried with every show of blood and then for years she dealt with the pain of an unfulfilled dream and desire.
Sarah Laughed
On a certain level, it seems harsh for the Lord to reveal to such a woman that she would bear a child and then ask her to wait.  Would we speak less of the miracle of Isaac if it had occurred when she was 75?  Or was the Lord making doubly sure that He got the credit and was He using Sarah to show us that if He promises something, He will eventually do it?  Did she suffer so 4000 years later we would still be talking about it and looking to her as an example of how to abide but also how not to abide? Is she also a model of what not to do when your long awaited dream comes true?  For by the Biblical accounts, she did not behave very well after Isaac was born.

It can be a scary place, out here in the deep with the Lord.  I am certain that people scoffed at her, laughed at her dream, and caused her to question that she had really heard from the Lord.  Sarah laughed herself when the Lord told Abraham she would give him a son.  I do not judge her too harshly, as someone who has had to wait upon the Lord for decades, I understand.