Life is so beautiful, but I have been reminded time and time again how difficult it can be. Especially in seasons of waiting. But God, in His great mercy, has been so quick and ready to remind me of Who and where He is in the midst of trials and great pain. This post has been on my heart for quite some time, but I knew that God had a very specific time for when He wanted me to share this.
Earlier this Spring, Nathan and I had been driving home from church, and my eyes just couldn’t contain the tears any longer that I had been holding in all morning. I love my church home and family, they have been so supportive and loving to us through our journey. But this particular morning, I couldn’t help but to look around and see all of the women that God had blessed with beautiful, growing bellies. The same questions were revolving in my mind for what seemed like days.. “Why, Lord? Why did you bring us to this church family to be surrounded by miracles, THE miracle that we so desperately desire? Why have you not heard my cries? Why have you forgotten me?”
In that moment, with tears streaming down my face, God had given me an answer. It was so simple, but so profound. The Holy Spirit had spoken to my heart. He said, “I use those who feel forgotten for my glory.” Completely perplexed, humbled, and curious in that instantaneous moment, I was lead to look up the genealogy of Jesus. To my great surprise, the beginning of His genealogy in the book of Matthew did not start as I had expected. The name that started off the whole list was not Adam, but… Abraham. Being involved with the christian infertility community, I had been somewhat familiar with the story of Abraham and Sarah, but this encounter with God lead me to look a little deeper into their testimony.
I want to start off by saying that there is a lot of history and amazing background that I have to leave out in this post, but I would encourage you to read for yourself the entirety of Abram’s (exalted father), or as we know him, Abraham’s, story. His testimony is just one of the many, many ways that we can see God’s faithfulness and His redemption story coming into play. In Genesis 12:1-3, we read;
“The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you.”
The biggest thing that stuck out to me about this passage is all of the great blessings that God promised to Abram. In those short few verses, seven promises were spoken by God. I think it’s important to note that these promises came after God had commanded Abram to step out in faith, leave everything that he knew behind, and go to where God was directing Him.
Abram, after going through his own trials and tests of faith, was married to a woman named Sarai (Princess), or Sarah, as we know her. Scripture tells us that she was a barren woman, and since she couldn’t have children of her own to give to her husband, she thought that she would take matters into her own hands to bring forth the offspring of Abram. Sarai had her husband sleep with a woman who was her slave, Hagar, and Hagar conceived a son named Ishmael (God listens). I encourage you to read that story, here. –> Genesis 16:1-16
I don’t know about you, but I have also fallen into the trap of believing that God’s forgotten something in my life, and that I’ve needed to take charge and do what He hasn’t yet done. My friends, even though my plan seemed like the award-winning option at the time, I have found that much more confusion and mess has come out of me taking control. God is the God of infinite wisdom, and His thoughts remain so much higher than ours. We have the puzzle piece, He holds the whole puzzle. The biggest thing I have learned through different seasons of waiting is that God doesn’t want to withhold blessing to bring us to the point of agony to punish us. But, part of the blessing is what He does with us and through us while we are in the midst of waiting. As we see in Sarai and Abram’s story, they got completely off track from what God had intended, and lacked the faith of what God had clearly promised (and I find myself GUILTY of this, also.). But God, in His great mercy, is a restorer and healer. We see His mighty hand of redemption all over the rest of this story, leading to the miracle of what He had been waiting to bless Sarai and Abram with.
Before their miracle arrived, God did something incredible. He changed Abram’s and Sarai’s names. Instead, they would be called Abraham (father of many), and Sarah (mother of nations). It’s almost like God was giving them another profound deceleration to keep them pressing forward to His promise. I love Genesis Chapter 17, because it is filled with more promises from God, including even the name of Sarah and Abraham’s first son. The comical part of this is Abraham’s response to God.. he laughs. And for good reason!! He and Sarah are in their season of old age. It seems impossible that they would have a son now?! But yet again, we are reminded that God is a God of the impossible.
In Genesis 18, we read that the Lord appeared to Abraham in the form of 3 men. They met together under a tree while Sarah was in a tent nearby, eavesdropping on their conversation. One of the men told Abraham, “This time next year, your wife will bear a son.” And Sarah’s response as she heard this?! Laughter. I love how in verse 13 and 14, we see God call out her response to Abraham, saying, “Is anything to hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Stricken with fear, as I also would have been, she tells God she did not laugh. What a reminder that the God of the universe so greatly knows us. Nothing is hidden from His sight or ear, even the sound of laughter.
My favorite scripture out of this whole story is this;
Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. 2 Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him.
Friends, please take note of the most important part of that scripture. God is faithful, He is gracious, and He did NOT forget His children in the midst of their trial. This story goes above and beyond infertility. It shines light to the wholeness of God’s character and perfect wisdom. This story is not the only one where people were tested beyond what they could handle, and it most certainly is not the only time where someone had felt forgotten. What about Noah, when he had been on the ark and was waiting for God to speak and give direction on what to do next while drifting all over the earth? Or Samson, when he had given away the secret to his strength and was mocked and brutalized by the philistines? How about Ruth, who’s husband, father-in-law, and brother-in-law all passed away? Or David, who was running for his life from King Saul? Even Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary, who had been dear friends of Jesus and waited for days for him to perform a miracle? And what about Jesus himself, who had said, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” while hanging on the cross for all of us?
All of us are fighting one battle or another, and most of us are all too familiar with seasons of waiting. I want to encourage you today and have you know that you are not alone, you are not forgotten. Time and time again, we see God perform the most miraculous miracles after a season of pain. God saw you and knew you before you were even brought into this world. He loves with a love that can’t be fully comprehended. And while He sits on His throne over all of the universe, He still knows the details of your life. He sees all of your tears and feels your pain, and yes, he even knows when you laugh.
By the way, I thought it was important to note that Sarah and Abraham’s son’s name, Isaac, means laughter. God is a God of details, miracles , and power. He is a God who keeps His promises, and a God who remembers the forgotten.
P.S. If you would like to know more about my infertility story, feel free to listen to my podcast episode on Sarah’s Laughter. 🙂