Sarah’s Story Part 3 – The End to the Beginning

Throughout Sarah’s story, there are many challenges. At one point, there was a famine in the land, so Abraham and his family went to Egypt to live during the famine. While they were there, Abraham told Sarah to say she was his sister because she was so beautiful, he feared they would kill him. Pharaoh wanted to take her as his wife.

Pharaoh treated Abram well because of Sarah and gave him livestock and servants. As a result of Sarah joining Pharaoh’s harem, his household came down with a serious disease. Pharaoh asked Abraham why he lied, returned Sarah to him and commanded them to leave with everything Pharaoh had given them.[1]

In the second instance while they stayed in Gerar, Abraham told those who inquired, “She is my sister,” (which was a half-truth; she was his half-sister before she became his wife).[2] King Abimelech took her to the palace. God closed up the womb of every woman in the king’s household because of Sarah. God appeared to King Abimelech in a dream and told him he had taken in a married woman.

After calling together his leadership and informing them of the situation, he called Abraham before him and confronted him. Abraham confessed what he had done, and the king replied by giving him livestock and servants, and returning Sarah to him. He told them they could live anywhere they’d like in his land. He spoke specifically to Sarah saying, “Behold, I have given your brother a thousand pieces of silver. It is a sign of your innocence in the eyes of all[a] who are with you, and before everyone you are vindicated.”[3]

Can you imagine how Sarah may have felt? Perhaps she was angry or even resented Abraham for putting her in these two very awkward positions? It seems Sarah followed her husband’s lead intentionally or submissively. Instead of trusting God to work out his fear of death by the hand of a king he assumed to be wicked, he tried to figure it out on his own with a half-truth, putting Sarah in a difficult and dangerous situation. In spite of doing things their own way in this situation, God faithfully protected her and returned her to her husband.

Can you see your own life in Sarah’s story? God knows your end from the beginning as well. He tells your story from the perspective of all He created you to be. He’s not worried about where you’ve been or what you’ve done. Yes, like Sarah, you may have consequences to some of the choices you’ve made, but that doesn’t stop God from delivering on the promises He has given you!

[1] Genesis 12:10-20

[2] Genesis 20:12 NIV

[3] Genesis 20:16 ESV

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When God Seems Far Away

Maybe you’ve experienced days, weeks and even months when God seemed far away. You pray, but you don’t hear His answer. You read your Bible but no revelation seems to come. You try to worship or praise, but you feel empty.

Unfortunately, I’ve felt that way many times in my life. Thankfully the Bible is full of such experiences. This is a reoccurring theme in David’s life. I was reading one of his prayers and noticed a question David asked God that I had not seen before: “How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?”[1]

David wrestled with his thoughts. He recognized the battle he faced in his mind, just as you and I face each day. When I didn’t hear from God, I would dig for answers with faithless questions like:

  • Where is God?
  • Why can’t I hear Him?
  • Why won’t He answer me?
  • Has He forgotten me?
  • Have I done something wrong?

My negative thoughts captivated my heart and imprisoned me.

I struggled to have a right perspective—a view of God’s truth. Before the self-assaulting thoughts came to the forefront of my mind, I knew His promises. I believed His truth.

  • He loves me with an everlasting love.[2]
  • He is faithful and just.[3]
  • He will never leave me or forsake me.[4]
  • He has given me a future and a hope.[5]
  • Nothing and no one can separate me from His love.[6]

But the prison bars rose and imprisoned me with each unbelieving, doubting thought I allowed inside. I could no longer see the truth. I no longer felt His presence. I can no longer heard His voice. I’d built a barrier in my mind. I’ve believed a lie.

But from deep within me, I get a grip and refocus. Like David, I come to my spiritual senses. My eyes are opened. The light of God’s truth makes it way in, and I remember. I remember His goodness, His mercy and truth. I remember how He’s faithfully worked behind the scenes on my behalf—over and over again—most often when I couldn’t see Him, hear Him, or feel Him. Yet, unknown to me at the time, I was experiencing Him.

That little glimpse of light gave me what I need to break free. I went to the Word and began to renew my mind. I removed the barriers my deceitful thoughts created with God’s promises.

I can hope again. I may not yet hear him, or have the answers I desperately need. But I know He is there—as He has always been.

David closes Psalm 13 with these words: “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me,” and I echo David’s words.[7]

 

[1] Psalm 13:2 NIV

[2] Jeremiah 31:3

[3] 1 John 1:19

[4] Deuteronomy 31:6

[5] Jeremiah 29:11

[6] Romans 8:39

[7] Psalm 13:5-6 NIV