I have grown up with Abraham. I sang the silly ‘Father Abraham’ song:
Had many children
Many children had father Abraham
Some of them were tall and some of them were short
But none of them were bright
Raise your right...
(right hands shoot up)…
And on it goes till one has lifted hands, kicked out feet and shaken the body.
So Abraham the patriarch loomed large in my consciousness – he who obeyed God and became the father of the covenanted people.
Then I got married; and I started noticing Sarah, his wife.
Today, I read in the Living translation that
He continued southward to the Negeb, pausing frequently (12v9)
If you have followed your husband through job changes, relocations and other tectonic shifts.. Sarah understands that. She had to set up tents, make home, cook meals, do laundry..then take it all down and start over – frequently.
There is a way we idealise Bible stories that make it all a rosy hue of settled faith and fortunes. The more I read carefully, the more I am convinced that’s simply untrue. It’s mostly grit, dust, questions, silence – and faith.
Sarah moved along with it all.
Did she not have thoughts, opinions, feelings? You bet!
And then, we come to this part where Abram decides to lead everyone into Egypt because of a famine. The story plainly tells us that he instructs his wife to pose as his sister to save his skin.
Again Sarah goes along. But then, God acts.
It struck me! God had promised Abram progeny. Technically, in the polygamist culture of that day; it can come many ways…But, God protected Sarah (He dose this twice! Abram seems slow to learn this) – because Sarah is his chosen instrument to bring forth the promised child. God guarded and kept Sarah’s destiny while she lived in a world where her rights were practically non-existent.
I have been through things I would not choose and endure decisions I would not make (not that they are evil)… but a few times now, I have received this intimation that God watches over me.
Like the time we lived in the USA for a year. It was a scholarship for my husband and he gained a lot no doubt. But it was a special season for me to raise my daughter, and to write. Although I struggled with some aspects of being there by myself, I enjoyed so much of the life and community, the colours, seasons, and experiences. I drank it all in and they nourished me. Two years after we returned, in a moment of serendipity, I actually sensed God said the time was for me too! I wasn't just a tag-along with some secondary purpose if i was lucky enough. Sure, it was my husband who emerged with the degree, but I received an honour from God as opened my heart to my calling. He affirmed me and helped me along. He opened doors and grew my courage and conviction to begin this whole journey towards being a pastor-writer.
God is just amazing.
We think of everything in zero sum. If he gets something, I lose something. Not so in God’s Math. It works out very differently. Sarah shows us that God cares about us women, guards our destiny, shields us from danger and strengthens us each step of the way.
There will be things that matter to us -taking down tents and all that stuff - and God may let us learn Love through it...but when it comes to what matters; God will be watching closely and will act on behalf of us.