THE MOTHER WHO WAITED
During this month of Magnificent Mothers I would like to talk about Sarah, the Mother who Waited, also known as the Mother of Nations. God promises Abram and Sarai that they will be the ancestors of a great nation, through whom all the people of the earth will be blessed.
The high points of this story are:
In Egypt, when Abram is afraid that Sarai's great beauty will cause his death, he tells her to tell the Pharaoh they are brother and sister. This is 1/2 truth because while they do have the same father, they have a different mother.
God promises that even though Sarah is barren, Abraham will indeed have a child through Sarah.
Because God delays his provision of a child for Abraham and Sarah, Sarah's maidservant, Hagar, is given to Abraham as a substitute. Hagar gives birth to Ishmael.
In keeping with God's long-awaited promise, Isaac is finally born when Abraham is 100 and Sarah is 90.
So at the beginning of the story Sarah's name is Sarai, which means "bitter; contentious; or quarrelsome. Metaphysically, in Sarai the soul is contending for its rightful place in consciousness; the individual is just recognizing the fact that his affections and emotions (his soul) are in essence divine and must not be united with material conditions, but with Spirit. In Sarah this is more fully realized and expressed."a
In Abraham and Sarah's time, which was probably sometime in the 19th or 20th century BC, people named their child for some attribute they saw in them or wished them to become. So names had a meaning.
Do you know the meaning of your name? What significance does its meaning have for you? My name Donna means 'lady'. And Lord knows I try to be a lady.
Because we come into this plane of existence trailing clouds of glory. Then someone names us. They say she looks just like her father or I'll bet she'll be just like her grandma. Or they say, look she's got red hair she's going to have a real temper.
So this totally innocent child has been defined with expectations. And the adults will treat them as if this is the truth of their life.
If you were to change your name what would you want your name to be or to mean based on who you are today? Think about it.
SARAI AND THE PHAROAH IN EGYPT
Sarai was 65 when Abram got the call from God and they left their home, friends, and family to go, Lord knows where, literally. So, at 65 it was already an established fact that Sarai was barren. God never said where he was taking them, just go and I'll show you.
In Genesis 12:1-3 God says to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. 2I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. 3I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed."b So they packed up and left, relying on God to be their GPS.
Now, in those days it was quite normal for a man to dump a wife who was barren because he needed an heir. But Abram didn't get rid of Sarai or take a second wife. So, we know that there was real love between these two which sustained them through their journeys.
Sarah's life was one continuous trial of her faith in God's promise that she was to be the Mother of Nations. Through this trial she emerged as a woman of power, one who was a beloved wife and who finally became a favored and venerated mother.
Early in their wanderings Sarai was taken into King Pharaoh's court because her husband claimed she was his sister not his wife. Because Abram feared that the pharaoh would kill him and take Sarai.
But Sarai, courageous and unafraid, admitted to her Royal admirer that she was the wife of Abram. Consequently, pharaoh gave many gifts to Abram because of the beautiful Sarah and released her.
After years of being barren and growing impatient for the birth of Abram's promised son and not understanding the divine delay, Sarah concluded she was the obstacle. It had been 11 years since God's promise. So, because she had not yet conceived Sarah devised the plan of giving her maid Hagar to her husband as a secondary wife. This was a common custom in patriarchal times.
After this year of covid and sheltering in place, I'm sure a lot of you can relate to running out of patience. We have waited for the restrictions to be lifted. And we have waited for the vaccinations to be available. We had to wait for the church to reopen safely.
Have you ever waited for God to fulfill a promise? Is there something you are waiting for right now? As you reflect on the story of Sarah and Abraham how can you best wait for God to fulfill his promises to you?
(Psalms 27:14) "Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!"c
Fulton J. Sheen wrote: "Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is "timing" it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way."d
And this was not the right way for Sarai. Hagar did conceive and then caused Sarai a lot of grief. Hagar now thought she was better than Sarai and rubbed it in her face every chance she got.
After Hagar's son Ishmael was born. God again came to Abram and said, "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You shall be the ancestor of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you the ancestor of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. And I will give to you, and to your offspring after you, the land where you are now an alien, all the land of Canaan, for a perpetual holding; and I will be their God.'e.
God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name."f
Sarah metaphysically means--princess; noble woman; noble lady. The soul, the affectional, emotional part of the man. It is the daughter of the king (princess) and should never be allowed to unite in any way with matter or with material conditions. When Abraham, not in divine understanding, was drawn down into the vital processes of the organism for recuperation, he allowed his loves, affections, and emotions (Sarah) to become united with the ruling states of consciousness there, and brought plagues upon the house of Pharaoh in consequence.g
One day the Lord appeared to Abraham while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent.
"Where is your wife Sarah?
"There in the tent" Abraham replied.
And the Lord said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year and Sarah your wife will have a son."
Now Sarah who had been eavesdropping from inside the tent laughed and said, "After I am worn out and my master is old will I now have this pleasure?"
But the Lord said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say will I really have a child now that I am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."
Because Sarah was afraid, she lied and said, "I did not laugh."
But he pressed her saying, "Yes you did laugh."
A year later Sarah gave birth to Isaac whose name meant laughter. Of course, the joke was not lost on the 90-year-old mother who exclaimed, "God has brought me laughter and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me."
Put yourself in Sarah's position. Do you think you might have laughed also?
God fulfilled his promise to Abraham and Sarah but, how do you think they felt about God's timing.
Has there been a time in your life when God brought you laughter?
So, Sarah was not perfect. She was bitter; contentious; and quarrelsome. When Hagar conceived and started treating Sarah badly, she had Hagar sent out into the desert by herself. But she eventually allowed her back into the camp. Then when Ishmael was born it all started up again.
Once Sarah's son Isaac was born Sarah had Hagar and her son banished forever to make sure her son was the only heir. (Side note: Ishmael, Hagar's son, is the father of the Muslim religion)
It all seems pretty contentious until you look at it metaphysically. Because this whole story of Abraham and Sarah is not historical fact. But there are valuable truths being taught. And I've only touched on a few of them.
It says in Galatians: "...Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and the other by a free woman. 23One, the child of the slave, was born according to the flesh; the other, the child of the free woman, was born through the promise. 24Now this is an allegory: these women are two covenants. One woman, in fact, is Hagar, from Mount Sinai, bearing children for slavery. 25Now Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present Jerusalem, for she is in slavery with her children. 26But the other woman corresponds to the Jerusalem above; she is free, and she is our mother....
28Now you, my friends, are children of the promise, like Isaac. 29But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 30But what does the scripture say? 'Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman.' 31So then, friends, we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman."h
So we are Isaac. We are not to be enslaved to our nonsense and our negative thoughts. We are free to become all that we were meant to be. We are the blessed offspring of Abraham and Sarah.
The covenant said, "Kings shall come from you. I will establish my covenant between me and you, and your offspring after you throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you."
So what is your name and how do you define yourself? This is your decision as a free person. Are you ready to give up the labels people have put on you and become your own free person?
Sarah was barren, what is your cross to bear? Have you given up and settled for something less? Or do you have the patience to let it happen in God's time.
Whatever desires you have were put there by God. Trust in them, expect them, and shoot for the moon.
Father, Mother, God; thank you for loving me despite the fact that my soul still contains shadows that sometimes block the light of your spirit. As I grow older, may I trust you more completely for the dreams you've implanted in my soul, the promises you've made to me. Like Sarah may I be surrounded by laughter at the wonderful way you accomplish your purpose despite my weaknesses. Amen.
aCharles Fillmore Metaphysical Bible dictionary
dFulton J. Sheen