I heard a powerful sermon last Sunday. This fall’s series is called Trusting Christ in Everything and this installment was entitled, “When Faced With The Impossible.”
There will probably be three blog posts out of this message, but one tidbit buried in the middle struck me. Particularly in light of the fact that this week is the children’s fourth birthday. It still seems nearly impossible. I am confident that every single one of their birthdays I will be profoundly amazed that we actually have a family. After all of those years. After all of those minus signs. After coming to the end of believing it was possible. (Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…)
But in the midst of this gratitude over having a family of five, I also wonder if I might be mucking it up. If somehow I haven’t given them deep enough roots to begin growing in the faith. Now I realize they are turning four, but I want them, even now, to have a deep sense of the grace and faithfulness of God the Father and the promises offered through His Son.
The sermon, taught from Genesis 18, gave me hope. The story tells of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, laughing when she heard she would bear a child. She had longed to bear Abraham a child, yet decades passed and nothing happened despite God’s promises. She interfered (post to come on this one!), and then at the ripe old age of 90 she was informed she would have a child within the year. So she laughed. I totally feel her reaction. It could have been a laugh of bitterness. One that hints at diminished faith – “yeah right, haha, I’m going to have a baby now…” It could have been a laugh of fear. One that is terrified to believe that it could actually happen after all this disappointment – “Ha, ha, umm, I’ve been down this road Lord.” It could have been a laugh of joy. But given the reaction by the Lord’s visitors and her denial, I doubt it.
Her laugh belies a shakiness of faith. A timidity to believe. Her human knowledge questioning any more promises of God.
Here is the kicker. Are you ready?
The pastor then asked us to contrast Sarah’s reaction to being told she would conceive when science would say it couldn’t happen, to Mary’s reaction in Luke 1. An all out angel appears to Mary before she has ever had any physical relationship with a man to tell her she will not only become pregnant, but she will carry God’s Son. You think Sarah had a reason to laugh? Imagine Mary. She could have said, “Ha, ha, really funny, yeah right.” But do you know what she said instead? “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.”
Let it be to me according to your word.
No laughter. In fact, after believing it was going to happen, she visited her cousin and broke into song about the greatness of God. She doesn’t question the impact it could have on her impending marriage or what it might mean to be the mother of God, she just believes and praises God.
Why the difference in the reactions? Just two radically different women with different capabilities to believe? One was a better follower of God?
Maybe, but I don’t think so. And neither did our pastor.
He said, “Think of the faith that went before Mary. There had been GENERATIONS of promises fulfilled.”
She believed because she had seen and heard of MIRACULOUS promises fulfilled. Sarah. Poor Sarah was at the beginning. There weren’t generations of promises to stand upon. There was the simple faith, imperfect as it was, of her husband.
But Mary. Oh, even after long dark years of not hearing from the Lord, she knew of the miracles God could perform. There had been seas opened up so His people could cross on dry land and walls came tumbling down and giants slayed by shepherds and battles won with a mere handful of men and rain produced in drought by fervent prayer and fire brought down from the sky.
Do you ever wonder? Do you doubt if you are doing faith right with your kids?
There are even thousands more years of promises fulfilled for us to stand upon, dear mommas. All we have to do is let our children know. All we have to do is relay the miracle stories to them. The big ones like the Red Sea and Goliath and walking on water and Lazarus. But the real ones too. The ones in our backyards.
The time that Christmas tree and bag of food showed up on your front door when you didn’t know how you’d afford to celebrate Christmas. That one when you walked out of that car crash even though you shouldn’t have. The miracle of becoming a mother when everyone said there was no hope left.
There are thousands of miracles behind and before us. You don’t even have to pick up the Bible to tell your children what God can do. Share with them the stories of promises He fulfilled.