Rewards of Faith
In chapters 2 and 3 of “The Remarkable Women of the Bible and Their Lessons For Us Today” we peer into the life of Sarah. We see in Hebrews Sarah mentioned as a woman of faith.
“Through faith also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.”
~ Hebrews 11:11
Indeed, Sarah was truly a woman of faith. We have seen Sarah uprooting from her homeland to be Abraham’s companion on his journey to wherever God led him. She left her family and her people to follow him as he followed God, making us her “daughters” if we follow her example of submission to follow her husband as God led him. Do we follow our husband’s lead as he follows God? Peter states that we are Sarah’s daughter if we develop a meek and quiet spirit and are submissive as Sarah had become:
“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
~ I Peter 3:4
“For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands.”
~ I Peter 3:5
We have seen that Sarah waited ten long years after the promises were made to Abraham, and then still being barren, assumed presumptuously that God may have had different plans as to how these promises would be fulfilled, that it must not be God’s will that she be the one to bear Abraham’s child. Therefore, she gave Abraham her handmaiden Hagar to bear a child through her, which was a common custom in those days. This was not in God’s will, however, but we have also learned that Sarah herself was not specifically stated as being the “one” through which Abraham would be the father of many nations at the time she made this decision.
We can find comfort in the fact that while we can have faith in God’s particular promises for us, we may make mistakes in judgment in how to accomplish it along the way at times, but God is understanding and knows our weaknesses. Yes, we can find mercy and grace in the God of all comfort when slip and fall, using our own human reasoning at times on our journey to the Kingdom. We also learn through Sarah’s story that we, no matter how merciful and forgiving God is, have to deal with the consequences of our sins in this life.
Then we saw that it was 24 years after the promises were made to Abraham that messengers along with the Lord himself came to Abraham to restate the promises, but this time specifically mentioning Sarah as the one to bear the promised seed. Previously, she was not mentioned by name, and now it was clear in her mind what the Lord would do. Sarah laughed. Yes, she laughed within herself. Did Sarah lack faith when she laughed within herself. In the last chapter I’ve stated why I think this was a reaction of amazement, a laughter of “Could it be so, after all this time?” “Could I find pleasure (joy) in having a child in my old age?” (Genesis 18:12) Sarah now being 89 years of age. The Lord encouraged her further, by telling Abraham “Is anything too hard for God?” (Genesis 18:14)
Are we waiting for certain promises to be fulfilled in our own lives?
“A prodigal to return to his or her father? Are you waiting for release of a physical affliction? Perhaps you are waiting for a husband – or for your husband to return to the Lord more deeply, or to be a spiritual leader in your home. Could it be waiting like your sister Sarah for a baby. Or are you waiting for vindication of some unfortunate misunderstanding for God to come to your rescue to show forth His righteousness on your behalf? (Psalm 73:6) Are you eagerly waiting for the (Kingdom)* for the groaning of your body to cease, for your ultimate victory?
“God bids you to wait – in readiness and expectation – on His riches, on His rewards, just as Sarah did, whose sister you are if you trust in the Lord. (I Peter 3:5-6) pg 48
What blessings can we gain by waiting on God’s “appointed time?”
Blessing #1: Increased value – Waiting increases the value and importance of the thing waited for. Whether you’re waiting for deliverance from suffering, the discovery of God’s purposes, direction for your confused life, a home at last, a wedding day, a family reunion, a prodigal’s return, or a child’s birth waiting makes the desired object a greater treasure once it is received.”
Blessing #2: Increased time – No one has enough time. But the one who waits is given the precious gift of time – time to embrace life’s circumstances, time to press closer to God’s loving and understanding heart, time to grow in the hard-won grace of patience, time to feel more deeply the pain of others who also wait with flickering faith.
Blessing #3: Increased faith – The writer of Hebrews defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) Please read the rest of Hebrews 11, and notice how the saints through the ages (including Abraham and Sarah) had their faith increased by waiting. Faith grows and is strengthened through time.
So, while you wait, be encouraged. We can believe Romans 8:28:
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
He Who has promised is faithful to His own promises. There are over 8,000 promises in the Bible. I once had a little “Promises of God” book that I kept with me most of the time throughout my heaviest trials put together by categories. I pulled that little book out any time I started to lose faith or anxiety overtook me.
What do you, by faith, believe to be true of God? Note the “miracles”:
*Eternal life — “I give them Eternal life” (John 10:28)
*Sufficient grace — “My grace is sufficient.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
*Strength for life — “I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
*His everlasting presence — “The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) pg 47
What promises and miracles did Sarah receive after 25 years of waiting?
*The witnessing of miracles — The 100-year-old Abraham fathered a child! The 90-year-old Sarah conceived and bore a son! And still another miracle followed as Sarah’s worn out body sustained the life of her little one as she nursed him!
*The working of faith — Sarah inherited the promise of a child by”faith and patience:; she exhibited the full assurance of hope until the end (Hebrews 6:11-12)
*The fulfillment of God’s promise — Wrapped up in Sarah’s little baby was God’s fulfillment of His covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:2), and the continuance of the family line that would give rise to God’s own Son, Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:2, 17)
*A child to love — God made the barren Sarah “A joyful mother of children.” (Psalms 113:9)
Indeed, God Himself shared with Abraham and Sarah His promise of a great nation coming through Abraham and as we saw above great miracles. They earned the place in Hebrew’s Hall of Faith. What trials are you challenged with today that could be used to exercise your faith? Faith is hope in what is “NOT” seen yet. (Hebrews 11:1) I sometimes see the small and great challenges that some women are facing, but along with it great faith – yes faith in huge trials and also faith in the day-to-day small battles they are faced with. Sometimes I share with them that perhaps someday they might be may be counted worthy of being placed along Sarah in the Hall of Faith. Sarah gives us great hope that although we may make mistakes in our judgments at times, if we wholeheartedly are striving to live our lives according to His word, God is faithful to His promises and His rewards many.
One last note:
“Dear one, “with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) Nothing is too hard for the Lord! So, I ask you, what trials and temptations do you currently face? Does some difficulty or affliction affect your every moment? Do you live alone? Are your days or your health waning? Are you stretched to the limit by the demands of each day? Identify your greatest challenge and then look to the Lord with the greatest of faith. Remember, “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) pg 51
To read previous chapters:
*This word was changed for emphasis.