Bible Society of South Africa

Twenty-two people in the Bible who had to be more patient than you: Abraham and Sarah - 10 August 2023

By Xanthe Hancox

Bible text(s)

6Sarah said, “God has brought me joy and laughter. Everyone who hears about it will laugh with me.” 7Then she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Genesis 21:6-7GNBOpen in Bible reader

God had made a covenant with Abraham, promising him that he would be the father of many nations. However, Abraham and Sarah had to endure years of waiting and a roller coaster of faith, doubt, and patience before they experienced the joy of parenthood. They faced the reality of Sarah’s barrenness and the natural limitations of their age. Yet, they clung to God’s promise, trusting in his faithfulness even when it seemed impossible.

In their impatience, they attempted to bring about the fulfilment of God’s promise in their own way. Sarah suggested that Abraham have a child through her servant Hagar, leading to the birth of Ishmael. However, this was not what God had in mind, and it brought complications and consequences.

God’s promise was ultimately fulfilled in his perfect timing. Just as it seemed humanly impossible, Sarah gave birth to Isaac. The name “Isaac” itself means “he laughs,” a testimony to Sarah’s joy and gratitude. Sarah’s laughter of joy echoed the laughter of doubt that had once escaped her when she first heard of the promise (Genesis 18:12-15).

In our lives, we may face situations where we are waiting for God’s promises to be realised. It can be challenging to trust when circumstances seem against us, and time seems to stretch endlessly. Yet, like Abraham and Sarah, we are called to hold on to the assurance of God’s faithfulness.

As we wait for God’s promises to come to pass, let us find joy in the certainty of his plan. Just as Sarah experienced the overwhelming joy of holding her long-awaited son, we too can find joy in the fulfilment of God’s promises, knowing that he will bring them to pass in his perfect timing.

Prayer: Gracious Father, thank you for the example of Abraham and Sarah, who endured years of waiting for the fulfilment of your promise. May we find joy in the certainty of your faithfulness. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen

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