18 The Lord appeared to Abraham[a] by the oaks[b] of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. 2 He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them and bowed down to the ground. 3 He said, “My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. 4 Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. 5 Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.” So they said, “Do as you have said.” 6 And Abraham hastened into the tent to Sarah and said, “Make ready quickly three measures[c] of choice flour, knead it, and make cakes.” 7 Abraham ran to the herd and took a calf, tender and good, and gave it to the servant, who hastened to prepare it. 8 Then he took curds and milk and the calf that he had prepared and set it before them, and he stood by them under the tree while they ate.
9 They said to him, “Where is your wife Sarah?” And he said, “There, in the tent.” 10 Then one said, “I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.” And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. 11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I be fruitful?” 13 The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.” 15 But Sarah denied, saying, “I did not laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “Yes, you did laugh.
21 The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. 2 Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. 3 Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. 4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. 5 Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. 6 Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” 7 And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
When we think of strong women and men in the faith, and their response to God’s actions in their lives, we might smile when we think of laughing Sarah.
What could bring the biggest smile to the faces of the old woman Sarah and her even older husband, Abraham? Their long-wished-for child. God had promised Abraham years before that one day Abraham would be the father of a great nation. And yet many years had passed, and Sarah had not given birth.
I wonder if Abraham and Sarah had doubted God’s ability to deliver on that promise? And when the promise, which had not come to fruition, was repeated to them from God’s own mouth, did they find comfort, or just more frustration? However they felt, they kept on listening, and wishing, and trusting.
Finally it happened. The Bible puts it this way
21 The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised.
The promise of God had proven to be true. Sarah smiled, laughing with joy. Abraham got busy with the details of circumcision and the like, and consented in naming the new boy Isaac (“Laughter”). The proof of God’s power was in delivering on the promise.
When I read in the pages of the scriptures, I find some of God’s promises. There are promises about protection, presence, and power. I need to keep reading, and then wishing and trusting that the proof of the promises will come to me in due time, and smiling about it all.
Help me to listen more closely, and to trust that you have the power to keep your promises to me, in Jesus’s name. Amen.