Lessons from Sarah on Patience

Sarah- formerly known as Sarai (like “The Artist formerly known as Prince”)- is first mentioned in Genesis 11 (verses 29-32 to be exact). She was the wife of Abraham (previously Abram), whom many Christians see as the father of our faith. Sarah was therefore a woman of great destiny and purpose; whose life is full of powerful lessons that we can extract from. Let’s explore what she has to say about patience. Prefer to listen rather than continue to read? No problem, simply press play on the audio below. Feel free to download also:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…” says Proverbs 13:12. This was exactly the state of affairs for Sarah by the time that we are presented with a snap-shot of her life in Genesis 16. God had given Abraham the vision of becoming a father of nations on several occasions prior to this point (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:5), which would have made her the mother of nations by default. However, the vision had still not come to pass. Sarah’s heart had therefore become “sick” with impatience, doubt and insecurity, which caused her faith in the vision to decrease almost to the point of non-existence.

The issue was not that she no longer believed in God’s ability to bring the vision to pass; neither was it that she no longer believed that her husband would be the conduit through which it would come forth. The issue was that the dis-ease of her heart had distorted her view of herself and her purpose in the grand scheme of things, especially since her personal circumstances did not match the vision that God had given. You see, Sarah had passed childbearing age but, even when she had been young enough to conceive, she never did. By the time we meet her in Genesis 16 her hopes for having a child had been deferred for so long that she started to second guess herself. You can imagine the thoughts: “God had said that Abraham would be a father of nations but maybe His plan doesn’t include me? Maybe Abraham is supposed to be a father of nations but I’m not meant to be the mother? I have never been able to conceive up to this point, after all, and I’m definitely at a biological disadvantage at this point in my life...” However, when she stopped looking at herself and focused outward, she found someone that she felt was more fitting for the role- her servant, Hagar. Hagar was young and fertile, everything that Sarah was not; she therefore saw in her everything that would logically be needed to bring forth the vision. This is why in Genesis 16:2 Sarah told Abraham that “the Lord [had] restrained [her] form having children” and asked him to sleep with Hagar.

The worst thing about all of this is that despite Sarah’s best efforts; scheming and plotting, the vision was not accomplished through Abraham and Hagar. Yes, they did have a son, but he was not the chosen vessel through which God wanted to establish His promises to Abraham. God had not chosen Hagar. He had in fact chosen Sarah, which was confirmed later through Isaac’s birth. All the heartache of watching her husband form a relationship with another woman; all that subsequent rivalry and conflict between the two women (Genesis 16:4-6; Genesis 21:8-10) and for what? God to have His way and establish His authority as sovereign anyway! Probably the most hurtful to Sarah was that the child which Hagar bore was a constant reminder of her lack of faith, perceived inadequacies and wasted time and energy in trying to play God.

We have all been a “Sarah” at least once in our lives. For me, this has been more times than I would care to admit (control freak that I am)! Although I do not have any physical children of my own, God tends to give me loads of visions, ideas and (what I call) “brainchildren”. This means that I tend not to be the sort of person who can sit still for very long and is therefore always building towards something. My problem is that, like Sarah, I tend to get very impatient with the process of making my visions a reality. This is because I can sometimes get so caught up in completing the action and work aspect of things that I forget about faith. In other words, I forget that the fulfilment of a God-given vision requires faith to work together with my deeds. I can also sometimes subscribe to the idea that the more effort that I put forth the faster my goal will be accomplished, causing me to reason as Sarah did that “the Lord has restrained me…” when I see that this is not the case. However, He is teaching me (over and over again!) that “He makes all things beautiful in its time” and so it is up to me to enquire of Him and get into divine flow so that I don’t get frustrated.

What about you, lovely? Has God given you a vision that is taking longer than you thought it would to manifest? Is your heart also becoming “sick”? Are you now contemplating doing things your way and taking matters into your own hands? Do me a favour please? Don’t! Remember, the vision will be established in God’s appointed time. You may have plans in your heart, like Sarah did, but “it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”. Surrender to Him; stay faithful to the vision that He has given you and He will be faithful to complete it. Want to know how?