Last week I talked about Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, commenting on how the things that stress us out are usually blessings. But let's flip back a couple of chapters before Isaac was born and the blessing was promised.
"Then the LORD said, 'I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.'
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, 'After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?'
Then the LORD said to Abraham, 'Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.'
Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, 'I did not laugh.'
But he said, 'Yes, you did laugh.' (Genesis 18:10-15)
We stress out about blessings, but sometimes we don't even believe blessings can happen. Here, Sarah doubted the promise of God. She thought the blessing was so ridiculous that she laughed. We respond the same in our lives as well. "Are you kidding me? God would never do that for me!" We laugh at God's promises to forgive and reconcile, to heal and sanctify. Sometimes we even laugh off the promise that God will take care of us when times are hard. "God is giving me what I need? I need a job, that's what I need!"
But what we really need is faith. It would be easy to laugh at this promise: "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20) That is, until you see it happen.
A few years ago my wife gave up her full time job teaching to raise our firstborn. She was committed to be there through his infancy. We were both making entry-level salaries and had just bought a house. Finances would be tight. We knew that. But we also knew it was necessary. Shortly after making this decision, I got a raise. It wasn't enough to make up for her lost income, but it helped.
About a year and half later, my wife was ready to return to work. She went in to interview. She had the experience. She had recommendations. She was working towards her credential. She was a shoe-in. But she wouldn't take just any position. She would not work full time in order that she could continue to be with our son as much as she could. The interviewers literally laughed.
After she interviewed we were snacking on refreshments in the gym when someone came and asked if she was the one looking for a part-time job. "We are trying this new program..." This time, we laughed as my wife took a part time position she would hold for the next couple of years.
Leading to that day, my wife struggled with even wanting to go interview, knowing the odds were stacked against her. We prayed about it and resolved that God could do anything and that we would be blessed so long as our priorities remain Him and our family over jobs and finances. We knew we would somehow be blessed whether she got a job or not.
They laughed. Sarah laughed. Now we can look back and laugh too. God is not so small that he cannot do the impossible in our lives.
How have you seen God do the impossible?