I’m blessed to be bringing you the Women of Faith Series after such a long absence from regular blogging! In this series, we will be exploring faith and the application of it in our lives by peering into the lives of women from the bible. Today, we begin with Sarah and the faith walk.
We often credit Abraham with receiving the promised child from God, but did you know that scripture credits Sarah for the conception of Isaac?? It was her faith that enabled her to conceive and bear a child in her old age. She considered God to be faithful in His Word to Abraham, and thus received the joy of her life at 90 years of age! But her faith walk began many years before that ever happened and I suspect that this defining event in Sarah’s life was heavily layered in a multitude of circumstances and decisions over the course of many years that empowered her to be able to finally say, “God is faithful”.
“And by faith, even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.” Hebrews 11:11
A quick definition to keep in mind before we begin: the Greek word “faith” in this verse is: pistij (Strong’s G4102) It’s pronounced: pis’-tis
It means: persuasion, i.e. credence; moral conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), especially reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstractly, constancy in such profession; by extension, the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself:–assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.
Sarah is my girl. We are made from the same cloth I think, her and I. There are so many times in my life when I have turned to her story in the pages of my bible and wished that she and I could have a sit down in real life. I have so many questions about the inner process of how she coped with the life she led with her husband Abraham. Did she ever fall apart like I sometimes do? Did she ever question God’s goodness in her barrenness? Was she sick to her stomach when Abraham announced they were moving… again? Did she battle shame when she realized that her mistake led to all the complications and threat to her promise as Hagar and Ishmael mocked her and Isaac? Was she lonely? Resentful? Hardened in any way?
Of course, when I get to heaven, I could find out that she loved all the excitement and twists and turns of their life like a true adventurer by her husband’s side. But I sure hope that I at least hear that my very human response to this life at times was somewhat normal. There is one positive thing that I can relate to Sarah about and that is eventually having the determined by faith that God will do what He says He is going to do- regardless of my process.
The Faith Walk is a Process
I had a promise from God years ago that I can now say has come to pass: my second daughter was born in February of 2018. After 20+ years of marriage, 5 sons, and MANY ups and downs and times when it didn’t appear to be physically possible, God did exactly as He had promised me and granted me 2 daughters. He told me He would bless me with daughters, and He has done exactly that. But boy, for me, it has been a PROCESS to develop my faith walk!
I wonder if Sarah felt relief on top of her joy as I did when Isaac was placed in her arms. We know from scripture that she let out a laugh when she was first told she would conceive. But somewhere, in between the laugh and the arrival of-of that baby, faith showed up. FINALLY. After years of moving, two kidnappings, a trusted servant turning on her, family drama and lifetime of physical limitations that brought shame and deep, unfulfilled longing, here he was- the one God promised, Isaac. And Isaac would lead to an even greater promise for her family.
Patience in the Faith Walk
My girls aren’t just an absolute joy to me, they are evidence that my God heard and answered me. They are symbolic of all the times I chose to stand in faith, even in hardship, knowing that God was powerful enough to do what he had promised. And trust me, it wasn’t always easy! They also are a testimony of God’s faithfulness. even when I was unfaithful. My challenging seasons and my lapses in faith didn’t cancel out His Word.
I have discovered that developing patience in the faith walk is the key to receiving what God has promised. Like countless others who determine to believe God, I have had to endure jokes, judgment, criticism and personal discouragement. I’ve had to reject thoughts that were contrary to the Word God gave me. I’ve had to choose to trust God’s timing.
- “Maybe God just meant for you to have spiritual daughters.” But God said he would give me daughters.
- “Maybe God wants you to adopt a little girl somewhere.” When He spoke to me, I really felt like the girls would come from my body.
- “Aren’t your boys good enough for you? You should be happy to have just ONE baby.” This has nothing to do with my boys or my great love for them- God said He had daughters for us.
- “Your health isn’t really optimal to have any more babies, maybe it’s time to call it quits.” Abraham and Sarah’s bodies were as good as DEAD. What health issues can limit our God?
- You shouldn’t have any more babies. You have too many. WHAT??!!! That’s like saying there are too many flowers- Mother Teresa
The Internal Process of Faith
I don’t know what Sarah’s internal process was in her faith walk. I can imagine, that just like us, she learned through pivotal moments in her life that she could absolutely count on God. I’m sure she witnessed His faithfulness when she was holed up in each of the kings’ harems, stolen from her husband and alone in foreign lands. Yet, God protected her from being defiled. I’m sure she was amazed at how God blessed them financially everywhere they went. And though she might have wanted to put down roots in a forever home like most women, there was no denying that God was the One who increased their household.
Maybe you, like Sarah, have a promise from God that hasn’t yet manifested and you’re about to give up. Maybe you’re holding on by a thread. You can’t seem to see how God is going to do that thing. Maybe you think it has been too long and it is impossible… but you also can’t ignore that thing God said. It’s holding on deep in your heart and you just know that you’ll be incomplete without it.
Look to Sarah, my friend. Somehow, some way she chose faith. If it was anything like my process, there were probably times when she had to claw her way to faith in her heart. But she got there. And so can you.
Our Job isn’t to Make it Happen, Our Job is to Believe
Our job is to receive and believe His Word that He will make it happen. Receiving my daughters has taught me several things about the inner workings of faith in my heart.
Have a Word in the first place.
You cannot stand firm in the faith if you do not have a solid Word from Him, to begin with. Believing God for something He hasn’t really spoken to you about can be fruitless. First, seek Him about your desires and ask Him to speak to you about it. Ask for scripture. Then you have something of substance to stand upon and believe for.
Stand with patience.
“And we desire for each one of you to show the same diligence [all the way through] so as to realize and enjoy the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be [spiritually] sluggish, but [will instead be] imitators of those who through faith [lean on God with absolute trust and confidence in Him and in His power] and by patient endurance [even when suffering] are [now] inheriting the promises.” (Hebrews 6:11-12) Faith and patience work together. I am often curious about how many things I missed out on from God because I gave up too soon. Commit right now that you will stay patient in your faith walk until it happens. Even if it takes years. Yes, years!
Stay humble, but don’t compromise.
There were many times that I had to fight against unbelief in my heart. Things people would say to me and various circumstances often made it look like my promise from God would never happen. I had to learn how to stay humble in the waiting but not compromise my faith in the process. There were times when my pride was pricked and prodded. When the sting of jealousy or bitterness would threaten to overtake me. But God would remind me to stay humble and to trust Him. Recognize that God is the One who will bring your promise to pass. That His Power is more than enough to do it. If someone or something tries to tell you otherwise, don’t get into senseless arguments about it. Just simply speak your faith and move forward in that faith. Soon enough, you’ll have the fruit on display in your life!
The Faith Walk is a Lifelong Walk
All of this is a daily commitment. Your faith walk is a lifelong walk because there will always
be something to believe God for.