Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac[a] to the son Sarah bore him. 4 When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. -Genesis 21:1-5
Abraham was 75 years old when he left Haran (N. Iraq) with his wife Saraii for Canaan. Sarai was 65. Abraham and Sarai (name changed to Sarah) were barren. Think of the heartache Sarah endured, wanting children, yet now beyond child-bearing years. Imagine the long years of tears and disappointment. Imagine Abraham, whom God had promised would be the father of many nations, now in his old age without a son. So desperate did they become they gave Hagar, Sarah’s maidservant, to Abraham that he might have a child by her. Ishmael, Abraham’s first son, was born of Hagar. But that sinful plan brought nothing but trouble. Hagar despised Sarah. Sarah was furiously envious of Hagar. While God promised to bless Ishmael, he insisted that Abraham would have an heir through Sarah.
And then it happened. Abraham was 100 years old, and Sarah was 90 years old, when Isaac was born. How old were Abraham and Sarah when they were married? 20? 30? For 70 years or more, they waited for their prayers to be answered to have a child. At times through those years, patience waned. Doubt crept in. But God kept his promise, and God did the humanly impossible. A 100-year-old Abraham conceived a baby with a 90-year-old Sarah. And through that child came the nation of Israel and, eventually, the birth of the Savior. How long have you waited for your prayer to be answered?
Patience does not come easily to us, any more than it came easily to Abraham and Sarah. We pray and we want our prayers answered quickly and in accord without timing and conditions. Patience is learned through a life of trust in God’s promises. Patience grows when we have made mistakes, when we have tried to “help” God bring about an answer to prayer. (Like Abraham and Sarah did with Hagar.) We limit God and what he can do in our minds. Sarah and Abraham believed they were too old to have a child. But with God, nothing is impossible. God provides the gifts of patience and faith.
Let us pray continually and fervently about our present distress. But do not limit God in your thinking. What is humanly impossible is possible to God. Patience and faith are like twin sisters- always together. God, teach us patience. Let us remember all the “impossible” things you have done, especially the birth, life, death, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. When we emerge from the present crisis victorious, make us your ambassadors, preaching the joy and victory of patient faith in every trial. Amen.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.- 2 Peter 3:8-9