“By faith Abraham, even though he was past age — and Sarah herself was barren — was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise” (Hebrews 11:11).
Imagine a sign in front of a house: “Sarah’s 90th birthday party and baby shower.” One person celebrating both events…in the same year? They seem somehow incongruent . . . and impossible! Adding Abraham’s stats to the sign . . . 100 years old . . . certainly wouldn’t make it any more believable!
If you laughed, smiled, or raised your eyebrows at the thought of such a sign, Sarah predicted that you would. It is pretty unbelievable. In fact, Sarah herself even laughed internally.
Eavesdropping from just inside the tent, she overheard a conversation between three men and her husband. “Sarah…have a son”? She could hardly hold back her response. In her mind, she saw herself as “worn out” and Abraham, a soon to be centenarian, was just plain “old!” So, she muffled a chuckle.
Laughter at the thought doesn’t sound much like the faith that Hebrews 11 applauds, does it? Something must have happened between that laugh and the day she gave birth. There must have been a turn-around for the two of them. Somewhere along the way, Abraham’s and Sarah’s doubt turned to faith. Their amusement at the thought turned to confidence in the promise.
I find that encouraging.
Maybe faith can grow. Perhaps there is room for people like you and me who sometimes waffle between belief and hesitation. Maybe it’s OK to be like the man who brought his mute son to Jesus. When encouraged to have faith, the man responded, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mk. 9:24)!
Maybe there is room for me somewhere on the continuum between extreme disbelief and implicit trust. Don’t get me wrong, I am not pleased with my periodic doubt . . . and neither is God. But perhaps He is patient with me like He was with Abraham and Sarah, even as my faith grows stronger.