Laughing Along With Sarah

plansChickens are really noisy but I think I might prefer the noise to the silence. (Read my last post, A Tangled Mess and Chicken Thoughts to understand what I mean.) The tangles are working their way out though.  However, each provides questions for which I have no answers. Do you have a list of questions that you don’t have answers to? Are you left wondering how God is going to work out the impossible promises He has made for you?  Is God pulling you out of your comfort zone into the faith-filled unknown?  Let’s see…yes, yes, yes.  God does some of His most profound work in the silence when we don’t have all of the answers.  It’s where we, or better yet He, is really able to get to the heart of the matter…for me, I am finding, it’s a matter of the heart.  And sometimes the heart just doesn’t understand…

It’s appropriate I suppose that Valentine’s Day is coming up and I’m digging into matters of the heart. Coincidence, timing, societal influences, who really knows? What I do know is that everywhere you turn there is talk about love and my intention is not that this turn into some God-loves-you-Valentine’s-Day-post. If you’re struggling with the question of God loving you this is not the post for you.  Please read Love Is In The Air.

I get that God loves me. I know this and I rely on this daily. That box has been checked. But my heart is crying out right now and what it’s crying out for is the need for a plan (says my type A personality.) There is no problem that can’t be solved with prayer, a good plan, and a checklist. (Again, my type A personality). Right now I have no plan and the only item on my check list is Pray. Not a bad list but the song that comes to mind is, “A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action.” (Possibly not an appropriate song choice in this instance but please forgive my chicken-pecked thought process.)

Sometimes faith is doing.  Sometimes faith is sitting still and answering questions honestly with “I don’t know.”  For me, the second is (obviously) the harder of the two. What I do know is that I am not in control, no matter how many times I try spin it some other way. God has never asked my advice or opinion, although I have given it freely at times. He doesn’t need me to tweak His plan.  What I am being reminded of, learning on a whole new level,  is that when God draws you out in faith, you don’t always get to see the full blueprint of the plan. Most often you don’t see the full picture, that’s why faith is, well, faith. It calls us to stand fast on God, not the circumstances we find ourselves in. This is living in freedom, although my heart doesn’t always see it that way.

I would love to tell you that I am living bravely in the Matthew 6 promises and not worrying about a thing. The reality is while I am living in them, it looks more like a panicked clinging to them while constantly wondering how. In these days I find my  heart easily aligned with Sarah in a story from Genesis 18.  Maybe you can also relate…

God had promised Abraham and Sarah a son. But try as they may it wasn’t happening in a timely fashion, so they helped the plan along a little bit.  Instead of Sarah and Abraham having a son, Sarah’s plan became to have a son through her servant Hagar. She convinced Abraham of this and a short time later Abraham and Hagar indeed had a son, Ishmael.  Then, having taken the plan into her own hands instead of leaving the heavy lifting to God, Sarah becomes jealous and things get a little messy (Doesn’t this usually happen when we try to go it alone and make something happen? Things just don’t work out the way they should.) Sarah forces Abraham to send Hagar and Ishmael away. But we serve a God who is full of mercy and grace and second-chances for allowing us the opportunity to get His plans right.  Despite their own failed attempts at growing their family and fulfilling His promise in a round about way, God reiterates his promise to give Abraham and Sarah a son. This time he gives them an indication that it will happen within the year.  Sarah, who is now very old, is eavesdropping on this conversation between Abraham and three heavenly visitors.  (Unfortunately although I could pretend otherwise, I totally get Sarah’s response to this reiterated promise.)  Sarah laughs.  Here she is, hiding behind the tent flap and she overhears this bit of news and she laughs to herself, thinking of all the reasons that it is impossible for she and Abraham to have a son. Sarah doubts God in the reality of her world. But it gets better. The Lord calls her on the carpet asking, “Why did you laugh? Why are you questioning my power? Is anything to hard for The Lord?” And Sarah’s response? She denies her behavior, saying “I didn’t laugh.”  Sarah plays dumb. Does she not realize who she is dealing with?  God knows her heart, her desires, her dreams, and her struggle to believe.  I can just see her, wanting to disappear under His gaze, her cheeks burning with embarrassment.  First she doubts and then she denies it…matters of the heart.  But guess what? Sarah and Abraham, at the age of 90 and 100, have a son.  God delivers on His impossible promises.

Human and flawed, I can easily find myself with Sarah, listing all of the reasons that the impossible it just that…impossible. Laughing in disbelief at dreamer’s dreams, afraid to believe it might be possible.  But our God is so much bigger and I think sometimes it is so easy, in the face of our realities, to forget that. It becomes easy to become impatient in the face of waiting on His timing, to take matters into our own hands, to try to fix it.  But I am reminded of some of my very favorite verses…

Moses told the people, (as they faced the impossible situation of the Red Sea on one side and an advancing Egyptian army on the other) “Don’t be afraid.  Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today.  The Lord himself will fight for you.  Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:13-14)  Stop! Knock it off!  Quit trying to save yourself and do the impossible. Are you going to swim?  Are you going to fight? It will not turn out well for you. God has a plan so get out of the way and let Him work!

God has a plan.  If I can hold on to that certainty – and sit on my hands, my heart will be stilled and quieted in the one item on my list – prayer.  That is a promise…

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