Summer Devotional and Sermon Series
Week 6/Heroes: Sarah
“Aren’t you pregnant yet?” How many times Sarai must have heard those words. My heart aches for her as I, too, struggled with childlessness. Those countless baby showers for friends, those baptism parties, those well-meaning questions about our plans for a family… all added pain to my already hurting heart.
In ancient times, the inability to conceive was a sign of divine disfavor and I have to believe that Sarai somehow felt that her infertility was solely her fault… possibly even a punishment from God for a past sin or a lack of virtue on her part. In my own struggles to become pregnant, I, too, questioned God as to why I could not conceive and then sustain a viable pregnancy. Why was He punishing me? Why could others have what I wanted so desperately?
Sarai knew that God had told Abram that his descendants would be many, but how could that be if she was barren? She had waited so long and had borne the shame of her barrenness so if this pronouncement of God’s was to come true, she decided she needed to help it along. It was not uncommon for servants to bear children in surrogacy and Sarai encouraged her servant Hagar to become Abram’s mistress in order for Abram to have the promised heir. Once again, Sarai did what she thought best out of her love and compassion for her husband.
When God told Abram that he would be the father of all nations, He did not mean for it to happen in this way. But then why didn’t He just take away Sarai’s barrenness at this point and allow her to have children? Did she have a lesson to learn? He could have intervened as He did with the plagues on the house of the Pharaoh. It appears that Sarai had to prove her faithfulness to God no matter her circumstances or her barrenness. He wanted her to believe in His promise not matter what her current situation was.
I did not take the drastic steps Sarai did when faced with infertility, but I did question what lessons I had to learn and I wondered, as well, why God did not hear my pleas for a child. What was God trying to teach me through those months and years of wanting and not having a child? I was not as old as Sarai when my prayers were finally answered and I still do not know why God chose to wait 10 years into our marriage for us to have a child. What did I learn in those ten years of waiting? I learned patience, I learned to trust, I learned that God is in control no matter what and I learned that His plans are not always our plans.
Sarai’s choice was made out of love for her husband but once again, she tried to outwit God and insert herself into the grand scheme of what God had planned. It did not end well for her and it will not end well for us if we choose to do the same.