I know a few folks that have been alive for ninety years… not many, but a few. They’ve weathered the storms of life since the Great Depression. They were alive for the second World War, the Korean War, and the war in Vietnam. They can remember their first telephone (and the party line) and their first television (black and white with only three channels). When they were in school, words like astronaut, microwave, and internet weren’t in the dictionary. They remember a world without computers, and now, many of them carry a smart phone. At ninety, many of them brag about their great grandchildren or even their great, great grands.
Think about the ninety-year-olds that you know, and then consider Sarah. She was ninety when she became a mom. Oh my! Giving birth in a nomad’s tent, midnight feedings, diapers, the constant demands of motherhood, and soon, attending the needs of a toddler… That’s a marvelous miracle of supernatural strength and endurance! Abraham has been called the father of the faithful, so his life partner, Sarah, should be remembered as the mother of the faithful.
Sarah’s story begins long before her first child was born…
Called to leave their home and follow God to an undisclosed location hundreds of miles away, Sarah obediently followed God’s direction. Leaving all that she knew in Ur, she packed up the family’s belongings, and without a roadmap or even a clear destination, she and her husband marched northwesterly toward the land of God’s promise. Sarah was by her husband’s side, submitted to God and committed to a life of full and faithful obedience.
When Sarah was sixty-five, they began the last leg of that pilgrimage (Genesis 12:4). Finally, at Shechem in central Canaan, the Lord appeared again, declaring: “To your offspring I will give this land” (Genesis 12:7). That must have seemed an empty promise. How could God fulfill His promise if the aging couple remained childless? How could God create a vast nation with multitudes of descendants if He withheld their first child?
Twenty-five years later, Sarah was still barren. No kids! That’s when the Lord appeared again, renewing the promise. They were “old and getting on in years. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. So she laughed to herself: ‘After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I have delight?’ But the Lord asked Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “Can I really have a baby when I’m old?” Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son’ ” (Genesis 18:10–14).
God did keep His promise! “The Lord came to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him. Abraham named his son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac” (Genesis 21:1–3). Isaac, means “laughter” … a baby born to a ninety-year-old seemed laughable. It still does.
“By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the one who had promised was faithful…” (Hebrews 11:11). Is anything to hard for … grace?