Remembering Sarah

Written by Ann Burns

May 17, 2022

When the Villains are Beautiful

 “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

I find Sarah an absolutely fascinating character in the Old Testament.  At the time, many esteemed her for her beauty, and today, we remember her for her wisdom.  

But there are lots of times, in the story of Abraham and Sarah, that we see Sarah as a determined and strong-willed woman. Someone who liked to take matters into her own hands. 

Names in the Old Testament are always full of meaning and symbolism.  And Sarah’s name is no exception; her name means “princess”, which is absolutely fitting considering that royal lineages would come from her, King David, and of course, the promised Seed, Christ the King!

And yet, with so much promised to unfold from her, Sarah was barren.  This must have been difficult to make sense of and accept. How would all this unfold from her?

The Old Testament is quite explicit in regards to fertility; God is the One who opens and closes the womb.  (Isaiah 66:9; Genesis 29:31; Jeremiah 1:5). 

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. . . . My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13–16 ).

The Old Testament reverently places God as Creator, understanding that He (and He alone) is in charge of the gift of life— not man.  And our desire must be first and foremost for God and following His will, before anything else. 

Yet, in regards to the story of Sarah, God promised Abraham a son even though she was infertile.  To Sarah, this seemed utterly ridiculous.  She was barren, and she was too old.  The proposition was laughable, and most likely caused her grief.  Her body seemed to work against her design as a woman. 

As a result, Sarah attempted to take matters into her own hands by giving Hagar, her maid, to Abraham in an effort to provide him with a son. 

Sadly, we only see how broken-hearted she is when Hagar does conceive; for Sarah, this news fails to bring joy, but rather leaves her isolated in her barrenness. 

I cannot even begin to imagine the anguish Sarah was going through.  

When we lose trust in God and take matters into our own hands, how quickly everything unravels! Sarah had lost sight of God’s Almighty Authority and fell into the dangerous belief that she knew better. 

We’ve all been in that position in some way or another.  We doubt God.  Our trust withers.  And we begin to believe it’s all on us. Instead of turning to God, we turn away and seek solutions without Him.  When in truth, we are little and capable of even less.  The results of pushing God out are always tumultuous.  

How quickly we respond in anger and insecurity! How rapidly love is damaged! 

Contempt brews between Hagar and Sarah, and both women struggle to receive the love of God.  They are consumed by their bitter emotions. Yet, God cares for both of them. He doesn’t glorify one woman and condemn the other; He calls both of them to holiness. 

Like a voice crying out “PEACE!” God is in control.  

How happy it is to remember!

Sarah, who once laughed at God, laughs in joy when she gives birth to Isaac, a name that means laughter. 

“God brought me laughter and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” 

Sarah’s story is incredibly complex and heartbreaking; it encounters sin and aching pain, but ultimately it is laced with a beautiful love and trust in God. Sarah’s story is a story of faith.  It is a story that reminds us that God is the one who is in control.  Like the story of Job, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

It’s not up to play God and assume we know better, but rather to place all our trust in God. It is there that we can find true joy and laugh in genuine happiness because nothing is too hard for the Lord. 

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