Really Lord?

I’m glad this exchange is recorded in Genesis for us.

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him.

“There, in the tent,” he said.

10 Then one of them said, “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”

Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already very old, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I now have this pleasure?”

13 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ 14 Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

           Genesis 18:9-14

The “they” who asked Abraham the whereabouts of his wife are the Lord and two angels. Abraham stood near his heavenly guests as they ate while Sarah listened to the conversation from the tent.

One of them reminded Abraham of the promise God made. The promise of a child….born to Abraham and Sarah. When Sarah overheard this, without knowing anyone could hear, she responded with a laugh and a bite of sarcasm.

I mean, Sarah had a point. She was 89 or so years old, way beyond the age to have babies. It was impossible.

Abraham laughed, too, when he first heard the promise (Genesis 17:17). But God didn’t respond to Abraham’s laughter the way He did to Sarah’s. I wonder why?

I think Sarah was scared to hope in the promise. Her barrenness made her bitter and she was resentful about the mess she made with Hagar (Genesis 16). I imagine when she overheard the promise of a child her heart fluttered. She remembered her longing and the uncountable prayers. Then she remembered the disappointment and pain. So she laughed it off.

Thankfully, God sees past all our pretense. He knows when we’re acting stronger than we are. He sees beneath the fake smiles and forced laughter, and He hears what’s beneath the sarcastic remarks.

God knew exactly what Sarah needed. The Lord asked Abraham why Sarah laughed then asked another question He knew Sarah would hear.

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

There have been lots of things I thought impossible. My marriage. This house. Our work. My heart.

I face impossible situations now. So impossible that I can’t see the possibilities any more.

But then I remember….

Marie, is anything too hard for the Lord?

 

Photo by Lionello DelPiccolo on Unsplash

Joy

Joy to the world! The Lord is come.
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart
Prepare Him room

Jesus came that we may have life and have it abundantly. This life is the kind that has a joy so deep, a joy so real, that it’s indestructible. Not that we won’t go through trials of many kinds. We will. But the abundant life is the kind of life that can smile in the midst of trouble and sickness and sorrow. Not a forced smile. A genuine one.

It’s the kind of life that can see beyond the here and now because the abundant life Jesus promises is the kind of life that knows this isn’t the end. There is more to come. A lot more. Eternity.

But for many the tension of preparing for Christmas Day increases as the day draws near. We dash here and there, from party to gathering to special programs, decorating and gift wrapping and candy making, menu planning and extra grocery shopping. 

And we wonder about the joy because we don’t feel it.

We’ve rushed here and there to do the wrong kind of preparing.

This joy isn’t found in a perfectly decorated home or an extravagantly prepared meal or the amount of money spent on the gifts we’re giving or receiving. It isn’t found in all the parties and events and Christmas bonuses.

It’s found in Jesus.

Those other things are just a foretaste of the real kind of joy. The abundant life Jesus came to give us.

We only have to make room in our hearts for him.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.                           John 10:10 (ESV)

Part of the Weekly Photo Challenge

O Come

“O Come Emmanuel” is one of my favorite Christmas hymns.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

I imagine the nation of Israel crying out for hundreds of years waiting on the promised One.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”    Isaiah 9:6

The promise was kept.

Jesus came. Emmanuel.

He is here. God with us.

Jesus, come into our world. Come and change our hearts. Come into our brokenness and apathy. Come and shine your light into our darkness.

The One who has come now asks us to come.

He invites us to peace and rest. Even now.

Especially now.

In the midst of the decorating and parties, Christmas programs and overindulging. In the traffic, long lines and shopping malls. In the middle of our desire to give out happiness in perfectly wrapped boxes. …….He asks us to come.

Come and reflect on the miracle of God becoming man. Come and remember the sweetest moments and seasons of our lives. Come and follow Him with all our hearts.

Jesus says, “Come.”

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

In response to the Daily Prompt
Mystical.

Rainbow

rainbowAn evening rainbow after a short thunderstorm last week.  

My daughter and I were out and about last Friday evening when we saw this rainbow. I stopped the car so she could take the photo with my phone.

I love to see a rainbow in the sky. Without fail, no matter what else is happening, a rainbow makes me smile.

It’s a comforting reminder….a promise of good things to come.

 

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: Curve.

I Meant 2015

Every entry in my journal for 2015 is dated 2014.

I see the blunder in previous journals. In the first few weeks at the beginning of each year I’ve done the same. I see where I’ve changed the numbers, trying to make it look as if I’d not made the error. Or I’ve erased it, or crossed it out and rewritten it.

A lot of you make the same mistake.

It takes a while to get used to a New Year, a different pattern, a fresh attitude, or a healthier habit.

My friend is frustrated that her scale didn’t aptly measure the deprivation she tolerated last week. It’s not what she expected. She wants results quickly. She wants to see the proof of her work.

Have you already messed up on your New Year’s resolutions? Have you given up on the promises you made to yourself or to others?

You paid the gym but haven’t shown up to use it.

You quit smoking but the patch isn’t enough. You’ve been sneaking one every day at lunch.

You told your family you wouldn’t bring work home anymore. You promised to sit and eat dinner together and patiently help the kids with their homework. But an unexpected deadline caused you to hurry through dinner last night to finish a report.

Your intentions haven’t turned into actions. You feel like you’ve failed and you’re discouraged.

I told my frustrated friend to focus on what she’s done right. I urged her to quit stepping on the scale and measure her success another way. Keep declining the doughnuts, and refusing the Ruffles. The desired results will come. Just don’t give up.

We all date our checks incorrectly at the first of the year. But we don’t get frustrated; we don’t quit trying to get it right. We don’t give in to the “I’m never going to change” or “This is too hard” thoughts. We will eventually date our memos, journals and checks correctly.

This morning I changed every “4” in the misprinted 2014s to a “5”. I messed up but I will get it right.

I have to. It just takes a while.

15-16 So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it. Philippians 3:15-16 (MSG)