I’ve always been a believer and I have always had faith.
Not the I-go-to-church-every-Sunday type of faith, but the belief in a greater power.
During our journey to become parents, my faith was definitely tested.
My husband and I were good people who had done everything right in our lives: graduated high school and college, got engaged, got married and were just supposed to start a family.
Everything else was falling into place, except for the baby in the baby carriage.
When the doctors seemed clueless, I turned to God, asking him why not us? I prayed to Him — more like begged Him — to give me a sign that I should either keep trying or move on.
That’s when I rediscovered the story of Sarah and Abraham.
Let’s be honest: There are times in the biblical account when Sarah comes off as a bit of a shrew. By no means was she always the perfect model of godly grace and meekness. She reminds me a lot of myself, minus the part of the story when she let her slave sleep with her husband.
From the time she became Abraham’s wife, Sarah desired one thing above all others, and that was to have children. She was obviously tortured by her childlessness. As a military spouse I felt like I was under a constant kidless microscope. Every recorded episode of ill temper or strife in Sarah’s household was related to her frustrations about her own barrenness, I cried on many shoulders myself. It ate at her. She spent years in the grip of frustration and depression because of it. I spent months avoiding baby showers, military functions and other kid-centric activities. Like myself, she desperately wanted to be a mother, but she finally concluded that God was restraining her from having children.
Sarah’s faults are obvious enough. Her faith, at times, grew weak. Her own heart sometimes led her astray. If that’s all we knew about Sarah, we might be tempted to picture her as something of a battle-ax. Fortunately, there was much more to Sarah than that. She had important strengths as well as glaring weaknesses. Although there were those terrible flashes of petulance and even cruelty, which remind us that Sarah was a human at the end of the day. Sarah’s life is actually characterized by hope that never died.
If she didn’t endure enough, she suffered for 13 more frustrating years when Ishmael was born to Hagar, when Scripture says Abraham was 86 years old. She still remained childless and by that time she was 89 years old.
If her hope was not utterly shattered, it must have hung by a very thin thread.
Here’s where the greatness of Sarah’s faith shines through. She had harbored hope for so long and she was now an old woman. No matter how often she and Abraham tried to conceive, the promise was still unfulfilled. Most women would have given up long before this. Finally, when Abraham was 99, the Lord appeared to him again and renewed the covenant. Then God came to her rescue. She conceived a son, Isaac, whom she loved with the protective ferocity of a lioness.
During our quest for a child, God tested us and he taught me there is no shortcut when it comes to waiting on God for what comes next, and good things come to those who never lose hope and faith. For those who are still in the thick of it, don’t give up. Even if its dangling by a thread, hold on to hope and have faith that when the time is right, you too will be blessed with the greatest gift of all: parenthood.
Vanessa Lynch is metro editor of the Killeen Daily Herald. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 254-501-7567.