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Silly, Stressed, and Still Unsure

A few months ago, I decided to read through the Bible. Chronologically. To take my time with it. Go at my own pace. Suffice to say, I'm still in Genesis (which is why I've been writing about Eden and Abraham and today, Sarah}.

But before we get into Sarah, the stressed-out elderly mom-to-be, I have a fun fact for you...

With God, names are important.

He changed Abram to Abraham (meaning father of many nations), Saul to Paul, and many more. Including Sarah.

Abraham's wife was previously called Sarai, but God renamed her Sarah. Why?

(Here comes the fun part...)

Because in Hebrew, Sarah means Princess. So we have Abraham, the father of many nations, which might as well make him a king, and Sarah the princess.

Remember that little name tidbit for later, okay?

(Alright. Back to the story now.)

In Genesis 18, Abraham and Sarah are visited by God, in the form of three desert travelers. And the Lord declares (once again) that Sarah will have the couple's promised baby. In response, the ninety-something-year-old woman laughs. And this is not a happy laugh.

You know how grumpy people have a tendency to laugh at their own misery? Yep, that’s what she’s doing here.

In fact, the exact wording says that Sarah laughed “within herself,” implying that she didn’t make a peep, but sardonically, hopelessly chuckled in her head (Gen 18:12).

So it kind of makes sense, then, that God’s reply of “why did Sarah laugh?” freaks her out a bit. I mean, if the people next to me heard my internal ramblings and grumblings, I think I’d be scared too!

In her fear, Sarah denies her laughter (Gen 18:13-15). And what God does next is really fascinating to me.

In response to her fear, her doubts, her hopelessness, the Lord does nothing.

The text literally goes from “no, but you did laugh!” to “then the men rose from there and looked toward Sodom” (Gen 18:15-16).

And friends, I love this lack of reaction.

You see, sometimes I get these pesky OCD thoughts roaming around my head like annoying little gnats.

It doesn't take me long to feel as annoyed as this lioness looks (sorry, I couldn't resist this silly picture!).

But now, I stop trying to shoo the OCD gnats away.

I’ve learned that swatting at them will only make them swarm faster (aka, it’ll validate the fear thoughts and reestablish the anxious patterns I’m fighting to break).

So I ignore them (or try to, at least).

And I think, in a very loving way, that’s what God’s doing here.

The Lord has spoken His truth, proclaimed His promises again and again over Abraham and Sarah. And yet, Sarah continues to be filled with unbelief.

So when she questions Him and then denies said questioning, God doesn’t dignify or validate her unbelieving fear with a response.

He’s given her the Truth to believe in, the proof of His provision (need I remind you of the victory over the four kingdoms?). Now, she has to choose to believe it. Believe Him.

And truth be told, I don’t know if she does. If she ever truly clings to her Creator when His promises are yet to be fulfilled.

But if there's anything we can learn from Sarah, it's that regardless of her fear, mistrust, and despair…

The Lord remained faithful.

The very next year, Sarah’s laughter returns (the good, joyful kind, this time) with the birth of Isaac.

Now, remember what I said with names?

The father of many nations and the princess welcomed Isaac, the one who laughs.

Barren to baby. Internal grumblings to joyous giggles.

Our Lord is an awesome Renamer, Redeemer, and Rescuer.

May we cling to Him. Believe in Him.

Always and forever.



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