Nearly all of us good Christian girls have a copy of “The Book of Bible Promises.” Maybe it was a graduation gift or a “prayer partner” gift from a friend at church. In the front of the book it lists different issues you might be praying about matched up with scripture that addresses the promise of the answer. I’ve used it to encourage others that are dealing with difficult circumstances. Slapped a verse on a “Thinking of You” card in the hope that it takes away their pain like a magic pill.
Now there is nothing wrong with using the Word of God in the hope of helping someone. The prophet Isaiah records what God told him about HIs Word:
Isaiah 55:11 “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth: It shall not return to Me void but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”
Yet, I have been reminded, while studying the life of Abraham and Sarah, in the book of Genesis, that promises have conditions that we cannot interfere with, or we could find ourselves waiting for a very long time for their fulfillment. For Sarah, it was 25 years.
A little background. God chose “Abram” to be the “father” of His people (Genesis 12). God established a covenant with him that He would make his descendants as “many as the dust of the earth” (Genesis 13:16) and as “stars of the sky for multitude” (Genesis 15:5). And those descendants would come from the union of dear, old, Abram and Sarai.
Quite a promise to a man already 75 years old, with a wife of 65 years. There would be four reminders of this promise until little Isaac was born to Sarah. Abram was re-named Abraham by then and Sarai was re-named Sarah, and they were 100 years and 90 years old respectively.
Can you even imagine how hard it was, how “impossible” it seemed to them, to her? She knew when her periods stopped. She knew her husband was not as energetic as he used to be? How could this be?
During her years of waiting, the couple were visited by “three men.” And one of them was Jesus, Genesis 18:1-15, gives the account. The time was coming close to the fulfillment of the promise and there was still some unbelief in Sarah’s heart, because she laughed a smirky (I know that is not a real word) laugh. Not out loud, but in her heart. But Jesus was there, and He knew what her heart did and called her out.
Genesis 18:15: “But Sarah denied it, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. And He said, “No, but you did laugh!”
And this after He has just said to her:
“Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (vs. 14)
Goodness. That verse is probably in my Bible Promises book, but it never hit me so hard. What is my impossible? Nothing. Because there is nothing too hard for God.
The Bible reinforces this in other scripture, Luke 1:37, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” It’s interesting to me that this promise is related to a baby being born to an old woman as well. The angel tells Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was with child, “in her old age” (vs. 37). Formerly “barren” women, given such privilege. Two old women, Sarah and Elizabeth, having a crucial role to play in bringing us Jesus. Wow.
Are we guilty of believing that our impossible is too hard for God? Do we believe that fulfilled promises only come to those who are more talented, more intelligent, with more strength, more patience, more beauty, more wisdom, more self-discipline, those more organized, with more resources, with a better background? Does any of this matter, is anything too hard for God?
As I think about aging, now that those years are closer to me than ever before, I am, I confess, afraid. I want to fight it tooth and nail instead of embracing the season that for me seems most difficult. The examples of Sarah and Elizabeth help me to see that God chooses older women to do huge things. And He blesses and makes and keeps promises to older women. I don’t know for sure but I don’t think these two ladies were afraid when they were given those promises. Their reactions were what any woman would do when they knew the truth of the natural process of biological aging. Only God could deliver the fruit of those promises.
I am thinking now of the biggest and most important promise of all – Salvation – and Jesus told his disciples the absolute truth when they asked Him, “Who then can be saved?” (Matthew 19:25)
Matthew 19:26, “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”
The “look” of Jesus, can you imagine? He looked at Sarah and called her out. He looked at his disciples and told them the truth. He looks at us and He truly sees all of us. There is nothing hidden, so why not believe for the impossible?
If you have experienced His salvation, you have the privilege of prayer and access to fulfilled promises. What is your impossible? Don’t smirk, don’t even think about smirking. Be like the victorious Sarah that is mentioned in the “Hall of Faith.”
Hebrews 11:11: “Through faith also Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.”
Just like you and me, she failed a few times, but she got there. And some of those failures produced whoppers of consequences, but she got there. She got there because God is faithful to use everything for our good and His glory. (Romans 8:28) If we do not believe for the impossible, are we judging God unfaithful? Scary thought.
I don’t know what your impossible is right now, but please don’t give up. If God has made you a promise, He will fulfill it. Let’s all just try not to get in His way.