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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Today’s Reading |  Genesis 18:1–15

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on--since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Make ready quickly three measures of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” Abraham ran to the herd, and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.

They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?” The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh”; for she was afraid. He said, “Oh yes, you did laugh.” (NRSV)

Poor Sarah, she laughed and doubted the Lord, and it has been recorded for all generations to see her doubt. That makes Sarah human, and really, I would have laughed too. From the time that she became Abraham’s wife, Sarah desired one thing above all, to have children. She and Abraham prayed and prayed, and God promised and promised and promised. But what kind of promise is harder to believe than a promise that has been given over and over and not kept? What promise-maker do you doubt more than the one who continually promises and then fails to follow through?

But unlike Sarah, whose faith had to survive only on promises, we have God’s promise fulfilled in Jesus Christ. What do I learn from Sarah? Doubting is human, but with God, nothing is impossible. My timeline and God’s timeline aren’t always the same, so have patience, because with God, nothing is impossible. She confirms my favorite movie line (from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel): “Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end.” Because with God, nothing is impossible.

Dear God, please help me to trust in you, and remind me that you will never let me down and will always keep your promises. When I in doubt, help me turn to you. While I find it hard to believe the impossible, let me remember that with you, nothing is impossible. Amen.

Written by Linda Gibboney, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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