Beauty from Ashes – Sarah’s Inconceivable Conception

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After a lifetime of people laughing at her, it was Sarah’s turn to laugh. How could she believe she could possibly conceive when she was way beyond baby-bearing age?

In a world where baby-making made you a real woman, Sarah’s infertility screamed FAILURE! Day after day, week after week, year after year, she hoped she’d be able to look lord Abram in the face and erupt with those coveted words, “I’m late and I think we’re pregnant!” But somewhere around 75, she probably knew that wasn’t going to happen.

A pretty face wasn’t of much consolation when her barren womb labeled her forsaken. With her heart hopelessly crying out for a child, her beauty left her as empty as her arms.

Perhaps she had come to grips with her infertile fate, but that doesn’t mean her heart didn’t hurt every time she watched a pregnant woman rub her belly or heard a baby cry.

And then it happened. God showed up in the barrenness of her life – at a time when it would have been physically impossible for her to bear a child and He promised Abram a son. And not just a son, but a nation. 

Yet, when time began to tick away and still no bun in the oven, Sarah’s heart had to become discouraged. Perhaps God’s promise to Abram didn’t include her. After all, the Lord was talking to Abram (Genesis 15:4-5)… 

“This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 

Time has a way of clouding what was once clear.  With what seemed like a postponed promise of a pregnancy, Sarah gave birth to a plan in an attempt to help God out. In a desperate act to help God fulfill His promise, she offered Abram her servant Hagar.

Talking about heaping ashes on an ash heap! When Sarah stepped in and tried to deal the cards of her own destiny, she not only shattered her own hopes and dreams – but she dealt a devastating blow to future generations, as well.

But God has a way of taking the ashes of our lives and making something unexpectedly beautiful out of them. Long after a promise, a name change and one big honkin’ blunder by the geriatric couple, God showed up and something inconceivable took place…Sarah conceived a child long after her child bearing years had past and God’s promise was finally fulfilled His way!

What could be more beautiful than an inconceivable conception? What could be more redeeming than for God to break the silence of her barren womb and give her the long-awaited desire of her heart. 

Isaac. The prospect of his birth made both Abraham and Sarah laugh. Abraham laughed with joy. Sarah laughed from unbelief. Now they were both laughing their way all the way to the crib!

Maybe your heart is hurting as you look back on what could have been – when you think of what you didn’t have or what you had to walk through? 

Maybe you’ve been the brunt of other peoples’ jokes? Maybe you’ve felt abandoned or less than? Perhaps, like Sarah, you’ve tried to be God’s little helper and instead of waiting patiently for Him to fulfill His will, His way and in His time, you butted in with your own plan.

I don’t know where you are or where you’ve been, but I know that God delights in making beauty out of the ashes of our lives. He specializes in doing the inconceivable. He loves you with an everlasting love and He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can ask or think – whether we’ve made a mess of our own lives or not.

“To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, 
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…” Isaiah 61:3

Have you tried to be God’s little helper and heap ashes on the ash heap of your circumstances? What ashes are you dealing with right now that you need to see God bring beauty out of?

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