The Story of Sarah in the Bible – The Woman Who Laughed
By Steph Nickel
The story of Sarah in the Bible is an interesting one. Sarah actually laughs at one of God’s promises. Steph gleans some lessons for us from the life of Sarah.
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Sarah in the Bible
Often, when we’re familiar with a story, we fail to see how amazing it truly is, how filled with twists and turns. Sarah’s story is like that. And in many ways, she is just like us.
Genesis 11:30 tells us that Sarah (then called Sarai) could not have children.
Perhaps you would love to give birth but are unable to do so. Or, perhaps, there is something else you desperately want, something that society says would give you value, something certain individuals say is evidence that you have found favour with God.
Dealing With Heartache
Dealing with this heartache was only part of what Sarah went through.
In Genesis 12:10-13, we read, “Now there was a famine in the land. So Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was severe in the land. When he was about to enter Egypt, he said to Sarai his wife, ‘I know that you are a woman beautiful in appearance, and when the Egyptians see you, they will say, “This is his wife.” Then they will kill me, but they will let you live. Say you are my sister, that it may go well with me because of you, and that my life may be spared for your sake’” (ESV).
Even at this point in the story, Sarah was not a young woman. She must have been incredibly beautiful for her husband to have made this request of her.
I’m certain none of us have found ourselves in this position. However, we’ve all been urged to compromise biblical standards of right and wrong because it seemed the only way out of a difficult situation. And when the person urging us to make the compromise is someone we have a close relationship with, someone like our spouse, we may very well go along with their urging.
Time passed, and still, Sarah didn’t conceive.
In Genesis 16:1-2, we read, “Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. She had a female Egyptian servant whose name was Hagar. And Sarai said to Abram, ‘Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her’” (ESV).
Have you ever gotten impatient with the Lord and taken things into your own hands? I know I have. I am, by nature, a fixer. Now, I can’t see myself doing what Sarah did in this situation, but trying to work things out on my own, without seeking the Lord’s direction … that’s something I can relate to. I imagine we all can.
The Lord Does Not Abandon Us
Thankfully, even when we’re impatient and impetuous, even when we make unwise decisions, the Lord doesn’t abandon us. And He didn’t abandon Sarah.
In Genesis 18:10-12, “The Lord said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’” (ESV)
We’re horrified to think that Sarah would actually laugh at the Lord’s promise. But don’t we read His promises and question how these things are ever going to come to pass in our lives. On one level, we may believe them. But do we really?
What Do I Really Believe
My son was given an assignment in Bible College in which he was to write a paper on what Christians believe. Instead of approaching it as expected, he chose, instead, to examine his own life and ask himself the question, “What does my behaviour indicate I believe?”
Are we willing to ask ourselves the same question? I know I wouldn’t always like the answer.
In Genesis 21:5-7, we read about the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to Abraham and Sarah. “Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. And Sarah said, ‘God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.’ And she said, ‘Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age’” (ESV).
The community laughed at Sarah and mocked her because she couldn’t bear children. Sarah herself laughed at the absurdity of the Lord’s promise that she would have a child in her old age. But now the Bible speaks of a different kind of laughter.
Has your heart ever overflowed with so much joy you couldn’t keep from laughing? I know mine has.
What an adventure Sarah had!
And what an adventure we have as we go through life!
It’s not always fun. Sometimes (often) things don’t go as planned. Sometimes we do drastic things to make the situation better, but we make it far worse. Sometimes we doubt whether God will—or can—fulfill His promises. Sometimes we mess up big time—repeatedly.
Thankfully, God will fulfill each one of His promises. He is well able to do amazing things in and through us—even after we make a mess of things.
Let’s seek the Lord’s plans and purposes—no matter what our situation.
Images courtesy of:
Laughing woman – rawpixel
Baby’s feet – esudroff
Woman in dress – loilamtan
Woman praising – LovetotakePhotos
Read More About Women of Faith:
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio. Read and hear more from Steph Nickel on the contributor’s page or at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests.
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