"Is anything too hard for the Lord?"
THE STORY – SARAH'S LAUGHTER (Genesis 18)
Reflection by Pastor Penny
I sit here and watch them go
hurry, stop them, wait, lets talk again.....
Or you may wonder if I know where they go and for what purpose. Of course I know – no secrets in this small camp, as I listened at the tent door when the angels came, I heard and saw more than most would ever dream… but I assure you that Abraham takes Isaac to the mountain -- with my agreement, no - with my blessing and agreement.
But let me tell you why I am willing to wait on God, to see what might happen with the "Great Promise Maker."
??? Did I laugh???I'm so wearily sad –
I laughed to keep the bitter tears from coming. We've waited too long to see this promise come true. We had long ago left our family home – all of those who raised us, sat at celebration tables, held our memories of how life had been. We were following the promise of God and waiting…
Month followed disappointing month, and year followed disappointing year, and I saw no promise blooming. Gray hairs came, wrinkles multiplied, some limps as my bones aged. And now a rocking chair – for me, not for a baby.
I know I'm the talk of the camp – poor Sarah, barren Sarah, must be cursed to be so childless. God has left her behind. I watch as others become round and full of life – families multiplied tents overflowing. I touch the little ones soft beautiful skin, smell that baby smell and know the waiting empty tent that mocks me.
??? Did I laugh??? I'm too sensible for this kind of nonsense.
I know how the world works, and it's too late for this kind of promise. I'm too old and so is Abraham. I know what people say: cursed Abraham, no child to call his own – no one but his employee to give his fortune and future promise to.
I'm a woman used to doing serious business, managing the camp and those who live with us. As I sort trouble through, I have the idea that Hagar, my maid, could be the one who carries our child of promise. Don't look shocked – this was a way things were done in our world – it makes lots of sense. Maybe that's what God had in mind all along.
And so I directed Hagar, my maid, to go to Abraham, to be with him and to provide the heir. I convinced Abraham and they conceived the baby I could not. As custom directed when she gave birth I was there to receive the baby into my arms. Our inheritance.
But I soon saw how wrong I had been. Her pride and superior attitude, my jealousy, Abraham's confusion. We lived together in growing bitterness and despair.
??? Did I laugh??? I'm too easily tickled! I have a grand sense of humor. Of course I laughed.
I imagine myself in the obstetrician's office with the other 20 year olds – trading tips on how to stay in shape through those last challenging months.
Or shopping at the "Lady Madonna Maternity Boutique" and as I browse through the dresses, the sales woman asking if I'm looking for something for my granddaughter – or one of the great grands perhaps… "Oh, no – for me, I'm due in the spring!"
Abraham and me attending the Lamaze natural childbirth classes and discussing if a doula would be a good idea.
I laughed because babies are not born on the geriatric ward and they are not paid for by Medicare!
I laughed because this is just plain hilarious. I laughed because according to the angel, God's promise was now in delivery mode.
And so, years later, I sit and watch – watch them go over the horizon. I know what is asked, and although I do not know how it will be answered, I trust in the God who makes the impossible happen.
The God who invites laughter.
The God who gives hope.
The God who gives life.
The God who keeps promises.
The God of the impossible.
And you? What does this story mean for you? No matter who we are, what life stage in which we sit, God has promises for us. Are we listening? How will we live into them? How will we reach for the stars and dreams God holds out to us?
Let us pray and listen together.