I recently began a women’s Bible study taking an in-depth look at the lives of different women mentioned and honored in Scripture. This past week we studied the life of Sarah, aka Sarai before God changed her name. And man oh man, did her life give us lessons for days. Never had I really seen them before but nevertheless, there they were. None of us in that room were able to escape the reality of the truths revealed through her life. There were too many to mention here but I will share one from Genesis 16:2 that applies to everyone, not just women:
Genesis 16:2a (ESV): And Sarai said to Abram, “Behold now, the LORD has prevented me from bearing children.
Sarah states a very obvious truth at the beginning of this passage. God was preventing her from bearing children. But why was He doing this? Why was He putting her through this torment? The answer? He wasn’t. You see, in Hebrews 11:11, it says that “by faith” she “received power to conceive”. In other words, it wasn’t until her faith was activated that she was able to receive the promise. And that didn’t happen until she was 90 years old. The delay wasn’t caused by God. It was caused by Sarah herself. He was simply waiting on her to believe. And yet she was blaming Him for her barrenness. I know. Just let that sink in for a minute. I had to also and it didn’t look pretty.
Truth: God is not responsible for the barrenness of our souls.
Now, you can judge Sarah all you want but the truth is, we’re just like her at times, are we not? It’s so easy to blame others or circumstances for the lack of productivity, capacity, fruit, etc. in our lives when in fact, often times, the only one to blame is the person looking right back at us in the mirror. We get so caught up in ourselves, our agendas, our wants, what God is “supposed” to be doing through us (as if He were our personal genie at our beckon call) and the list goes on and on…that we forget it has nothing to do with us in the first place and we sometimes start making things happen on our own, things He never asked us to do; things that are not aligned with His will. If you keep reading the passage, the next verse shows this is exactly what Sarah did.
Genesis 16:2b (ESV): Go in to my servant; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.
Unfortunately, she decided to step out on her own, out of God’s plan, in an attempt to “help” Him fulfill His own promise! How foolish. She wanted the promise so bad that she was willing to sin for it. But we all know the consequences for sin are never good and such was the case for Sarah.
Beloved, what He wants to do through us for His glory is actually so much greater than us. And that’s just it. Because it’s for His glory, not ours. Let us never forget that. He’s simply waiting for us to get over ourselves and turn back to him with hearts of expectation, full of faith, surrendering to His will and not ours. No matter how hard. No matter how long. No matter how painful the process.
Is there something you know the Lord has spoken over your life but you haven’t seen its fulfillment yet? Something you know should’ve happened by now and yet the days, weeks, months and years are passing you by? Are there things you know you’ve been trying to do in an attempt to “help” God fulfill the dreams and promises He’s given you but it’s like swimming against a violent current? Maybe it’s time to hit pause, connect with God and let Holy Spirit reveal what areas in your life are being held hostage by unbelief and pride, so you can receive what He’s wanted you to have for so long now.
Listen, if you’re saying to yourself, “This is me.” – don’t be discouraged. Take heart in the example we have in Sarah. Yes, she made mistakes, as we all do. But despite them, in the end, she was still honored as one of the greats of the faith…all because she eventually decided to stop blaming God for her barrenness and chose to truly trust in His plan. To truly believe He would do what He said He would. To truly surrender knowing He didn’t need her help. When you surrender all to Him, remembering He who promised is faithful to deliver, He’ll always make a way, even when you think there no longer is one.