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Prayer for the week of March 5th – Promise Fulfilled

March 5, 2012

Sometimes it takes a while for us to see one of God’s promises fulfilled in our life.  With some of us, the longer it takes the more we doubt ourselves.  The more desperate the situation the more we doubt God’s plan for us.  We try to “help” God bring the promise about.  But as moms we have a special role to play in our families.  It’s our calling to be keepers of the home and lovers of our husbands and children.  Our emotional state often sets the tone of our home. If we grow weary in doing good then we begin to suffer physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  We forget to laugh and we start complaining.  Things can get desperate.

“Where is your wife Sarah?  They asked him.

“There in the tent,” he said.

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 advance 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 to 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 18:9-15)

At the time of this exchange Sarah was 90 years old and Abraham was 99.  Long past when a husband and wife should be able to conceive.  There were other issues, too.  Long ago Sarah had sinned.  She really was only trying to help God fulfill his promise to give them a child and make Abraham “a great nation.”  But she forgot God doesn’t need our help and his timing isn’t ours.  So Sarah devised a plan to send her servant Hagar to Abraham, because, there just had to be a child.

Oh the pain Sarah must have felt when Hagar almost immediately gets the blessing of a child growing in her womb.  Her frustration over her own lack increased and she became angry. I’m sure she was angry with herself, with Abraham, with Hagar, and with God.

So when we arrive at this text in Genesis, Sarah is frustrated, she has become a complainer and her relationship with Abraham has lost its intimacy.  Upon hearing the Lord say she will have a son she says, “After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?”  Worn out in this context is actually an ancient word, ballah.  This is a word referring to a piece of cloth so thoroughly worn out that it could no longer be repaired or repurposed.

(One of the most prized possessions for nomadic people was fabric.  The women wove the fabric and used it to clothe their family and keep them safe from the harsh elements in which they lived.  When fabric started to wear out, it was repurposed over and over again until it was too fragile or brittle to be used further.  Then it was called ballah and thrown away.)

When Sarah calls herself ballah she is saying that she is too worn out to be used for this miracle.  Ah, but God never saw Sarah as ballah, even in all her brokenness, in her bitterness, in her lack.  He was about to change her hopelessness into pleasure.

Then Sarah laughs.  Every time I’ve read this text or heard anyone speak on it, it’s always assumed that Sarah’s laugh is cynical.  The Hebrew word used here is tsa-hak.  Sort of a combination laugh, yes, a little bit unbelieving, but mostly full of joy at the fulfilling of the long awaited promise.

Then Sarah’s comment about this news bringing “pleasure.”  This pleasure, edhenâh in Hebrew, has to do with the pleasure intended in a marriage relationship, when the two are one.  This was an intimacy that had been lost between Sarah and Abraham now restored.

The response of the Lord to her, “Is anything too hard…” is actually in the Hebrew translation ha-yip-pa-le.  “Is anything too wonderful for the Lord.”

And the response of the Angel of the Lord to her laughter is not one of rebuke or judgment, but of affirmation.  Laugh Sarah.  Keep on laughing because I’ve put your life back together.  This once worn out and embittered woman became a woman that could laugh again.

Are you awaiting a fulfillment of a promise?  Are you seeing yourself as ballah today?  Has the work of being Mom – Keeper of the Home, so worn you out that you see yourself as unusable?  Have you let bitterness and complaining sneak in and rob you of your laughter?

Hear me when I say, Abba Father sees you differently.  He is not done with you.

I ask you Lord right now to break into the life of the tired momma reading this post.  No matter where she is or how she has sinned, let her see herself through your eyes.  She is not ballah!  Renew and restore every place of lack. I ask you Lord to move into her heart with intimacy.  Restore her laughter.

Make this your prayer this week, for yourself and for the tired and broken moms in your life.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.  (Proverbs 31:25)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Claudia permalink
    March 5, 2012 10:01 am

    Kristina your wonderful prayer has brought tears to my eyes, thank you for your support. Have a blessed week.

  2. March 13, 2012 4:46 pm

    A beautiful devotional. Thank you.

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