God remembered Sarah as He had said; and God did for Sarah as He had spoken. Sarah conceived and bore a son to Avraham in his old age, at the appointed time which God had spoken. Ber. 21: 1-2
Earlier in this week’s parsha, three angels visit Avraham and one of them announces, “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and behold Sarah, your wife, will have a son.” The text continues by telling us that Sarah, who was listening at the entrance of the tent, laughed. (18:10-12)
Many years had passed since God had promised Avraham that his descendants would like the stars in the sky and the sands on the seashore. Sarah had reached the age of 89 and Avraham was 99 at the time of the angels’ visit. Commentators have opined on Sarah’s laugh and suggested various explanations but let’s take another look at this passage.
After Sarah laughed, God said to Avraham, “Why is it that Sarah laughed…” She denied it…for she was frightened.” (18:13-15)
There can be no doubt that Sarah was a woman of great faith. What would your reaction be if your husband suddenly announced to you one day, “God spoke to me and we’re to pull up stakes and move though I don’t know where we are going or where we will end up.” That’s essentially what Avraham said to Sarah and she followed him. Keep in mind that she, too, along with Avraham, left family, friends and her ‘hometown’ to venture into the unknown.
There can also be no doubt that after all these years of waiting, Sarah could well have spiritualized the promise and thought to herself, ‘Since I’ve never given birth to a child, perhaps what God meant was that our spiritual descendants would be like the stars of the sky.’ It is well documented, after all, that Avraham and Sarah led many idolaters to faith in the one true God.
Whatever her perception at the time, nevertheless, God was not pleased with her laugh and said to Avraham, “Is anything too difficult for God?”
I suggest that it was not Sarah’s faith that was in question, but her TRUST in God. The Ramban said, “Faith is like a tree and trust is the fruit of that tree…but there are trees that do not bear fruit.” (Emunah u-Bitachon)
Faith is that deep seated belief that God exists, that He is an all-knowing, all loving Father, etc., etc. Trust is the confidence that He watches over and is directly involved in the specific details of our lives. Trust is the vault in our soul that keeps His promises secure within us while we wait – many times for years – to see those promises come to pass.
To have TRUST in God, you must have faith; but not everyone who has FAITH has TRUST. We may believe that God answers prayer, for example; but when a crisis erupts in our personal lives, we sometimes doubt that He will hear our prayers NOW and for THIS situation. We get impatient when our TRUST in Him is weak. We believe in Him — absolutely! But this situation? Will He REALLY meet my need now? Will He REALLY answer MY prayers?
Genuine trust in God means putting our entire confidence in His integrity and remembering Him in every detail of life. His boundless love for you considers nothing too small or undeserving of His attention.
Trust is the confident anticipation that as surely as day follows night, God’s faithfulness cannot and will not fail. Nothing in the universe can stop Him; nothing is too hard for Him. And — as you may have already discovered in life — it often seems as though God takes special delight in manifesting His power when we think ‘it’s been too long, it can never happen now’. When all our human options have run out, as in Avraham and Sarah’s situation, God demonstrates His eternal love and faithfulness.
With God, it’s NEVER TOO LATE!
In Tune with Torah this week = meditating on our own TRUST in Him for our personal needs. Is that trust an abiding source of peace and stability? Or are we thrown about by the winds of doubt and anxiety? Psalm 62:9 “Trust in Him at all times…”