My son and I read the story of Abraham and Sarah this morning as part of Advent. Perhaps because I share Sarah’s name I’ve thought about her life quite a bit. Sarah is someone I can relate to.
Sarah (still named Sarai at the time) desired a baby and after waiting many long years she decides to take matters into her own hands.
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. And she had an Egyptian maidservant whose name was Hagar. So Sarai said to Abram, “See now, the Lord has restrained me from bearing children. Please, go in to my maid; perhaps I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram heeded the voice of Sarai. (Genesis 16: 1-2)
Sarah struggled to trust God. God had already promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars. Perhaps she thought that promise didn’t extend to her. Or her desire for a child was so strong that she didn’t want to wait any longer. Whatever she was thinking, she decided to act.
The consequences of Sarah’s actions are strained relationships. First with Hagar who begins to despise Sarai and then with Abram who went along with Sarai’s plan instead of trusting God himself.
Then Sarai said to Abram, “My wrong be upon you! I gave my maid into your embrace; and when she saw that she had conceived, I became despised in her eyes. The Lord judge between you and me.” (Genesis 16:5)
I have found this to be true in my own life. When I take matters into my own hands I often seemingly get what I want with unintended consequences.
This is not the end of the story however. Despite Sarah’s lack of trust God fulfills his plan for her life and blesses her.
And Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and all who hear will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age. (Genesis 21:6-7)
We will suffer consequences for our sins but I am greatly encouraged that God’s plans are never thwarted, even when we sin and take matters into our own hands.