And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore. Hebrews 11, verses 11-12.
The story of Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac is a miracle. If you aren’t familiar with it, the 50000 foot synopsis is that God tells an 80 year old Abraham that he will have a son from his similarly elderly wife, Sarah. Abraham believes it…and God then waits another generation before making the promise come true. Sarah initially laughs at God’s messenger when said messenger delivers the news. Yet nine months later, Isaac is born. Eventually, Isaac has children, and their children and children’s children become the nation of Israel. In time, they are as numerous as stars in the sky. In time, Abraham also blesses all people after him because one of his descendants is Jesus of Nazareth.
Now, in a day of invitro fertilization, advanced medicine, and modern sanitation, American women having children at advanced age seems like no big deal. Janet Jackson, who is a few months older than me, just had a baby…and she and I are both in our fifties. That simply wasn’t the case in Abraham’s day. Thousands of years ago (in fact, only a few decades ago), if a woman was beyond her mid-thirties, it was unlikely she would even conceive let alone have a viable, healthy baby. The risk to both child and woman was too high. In the Third World today, that’s still very much the case, though even this is improving.
Can you imagine a woman in her eighties having a baby to a man who is 100 years old? You might read about it in a tabloid…or in the book of Genesis. I found a story online about a woman in her seventies in India who recently had a baby. But she had the baby in a modern hospital and benefitted from modern practices. Sarah bore Isaac in a tent in the desert when she was in her seventies, maybe eighties or older.
It’s a miracle. What’s the miracle, though? That God created life out of lifelessness? That old people had kids? That a nation of believers was created from a barren couple? That the Messiah would eventually be born to this couple’s descendants?
Or was the miracle that they believed?
If you think about it, that miracle still happens every day. In the face of a world that is still hostile to the idea of God (let alone the physical being of Him), that’s miraculous. People in Abraham’s day rejected God en masse. After all, Sodom and Gomorrah happened in Abraham’s day. Of the 7 billion people here on the Third Rock today, most still reject God. Most people reject this story of Abraham as just a fable. Most of those 7 billion people reject Jesus as Savior, or even as a fact.
Face it: if you believe, and if you hold onto that belief despite a world marching in lockstep to vigorously oppose that, then it’s a miracle. It’s the Spirit of the living God taking hold of your soul. It’s the Great I AM joining with you to help you live your life for others. It’s the Savior demonstrating His endless love for you by redeeming you from that world hostile to Him. Whether or not God will use you to produce a nation of His chosen people remains to be seen. It did for many years in Abraham’s life, and then it all came true.
For further reading: Genesis 17:17 – 18:14, Genesis 21:2, 1 Corinthians 1:9, Romans 4:19.
Lord, I praise You for the life of Abraham and the miracles You worked through Him.