I didn’t realize I had it in me.
Mid morning light breathes through tall windows into the white walled room. Six of us, planted in black plastic chairs, congregate around a small folding table. Three of them are grandmothers, yet two of them look younger than me.
Today, we meet for the first time.
She prays with the confidence of Tom Brady and the humility of a waterboy. She’s prayed like this for her kids every week for over 25 years. Big and small prayers have been answered. Yet, many big requests are still pending. Nevertheless, she’s all in.
Lord, you know what Tara’s child needs. You are behind the scenes working and shaping her child. You see her girl and you walk with her. Nothing is hidden from You. Give Tara and her husband the wisdom they need to guide their child…
The thought, she doesn’t know my kid, hijacks my prayers. A snide snicker escapes my lips. The awkward sound rustles through the quiet room, like a stolen candy bar falling out from under my toddler’s shirt after leaving the grocery store.
My eyes pop open. I suck in a quick breath and hold it. No one’s looking up. Whew.
Did I really laugh as this kind stranger prays for my child? I wish I could swallow the laugh back inside.
Then I remembered Sarah.
She laughed at a stranger once, too.
In Genesis 18, The Lord comes to Abraham, again, to remind him of His promise. This time Sarah is in earshot of the conversation. Standing in front of Abraham’s house the Lord says, “By this time next year your wife will be holding a baby boy.”
Sarah, listening from the doorway, laughs to herself. Its too late. Plus, we couldn’t possibly deserve this happiness in our lives.(Genesis 18:10-12 )
I have doubts about my kids, too:
I’ve tried every parenting trick without result.
This happiness only comes to those double-Christian-parent-homes.
It’s too late.
We are out of options.
Even though, over the years, I have written down and prayed the promises:
You will teach my kids and they will enjoy peace. (Isaiah 54:13)
They will call themselves Your’s. (Isaiah 44:5)
My entire family will be saved. (Acts 16:31)
The escaping snicker showed me what I believed now. I didn’t think He was helping my girl. I didn’t think He wanted to or else He would have answered my prayers already.
I was worn out.
Deflated by what my laugh revealed, my only response was, “Help my unbelief, Lord.”
Sarah heard the promise in the past too. (Genesis 17:15) All she could do now was laugh. To her, His promise was absurd.
The following chapters in Genesis don’t reveal any more of Sarah’s thoughts. Or when and how she returned to faith. What it does say, however, is God kept His promise. Isaac, whose name actually means ‘he laughs’, was born the next year. (Genesis 21:1-3)
When we have tried everything and failed. When we have waited and come up empty, God still remembers and follows through. (2 Timothy 2:13)
What a relief.
It’s not about me. It’s not about my powerful prayers, robust faith or super-human parenting.
What God reminded Sarah is, nothing is too hard for Him. No matter what failed in the past, it’s never too late for God to return true laughter to our lives.
In the end, His promises are His responsibility. And His pleasure to produce.
Lord, You know who is reading this with a broken heart. It’s more than just a little doubt. Her dreams and faith in Your promises drowned in life circumstances. Comfort her in her pain. Absorb her tears and her doubt as she freely spills it out before you today. Your shoulders are big Lord. You can carry the weight of our doubt and pain. You don’t get offended and criticize. You know all of our thoughts and still utterly adore us. Please, shoulder her doubt, and whisper a fresh promise to her today. Amen.