Beautiful. Oh, the weather has been. I seen some sunsets recently that are. Moments between my girls in rare times are. The time set aside with Steve has that potential. But mostly I have been studying Joseph in Genesis and I am stuck on some of the pre-story, that is truly BEAUTIFUL.
All the way back to Abraham and the promise he received from God that his descendants would be as numerous of the stars (Gen 22:17). This promise was given again far later in the life of him and Sarah, after in fact his testing of sacrificing Issac on the altar (Gen 22). Let's go back even further, to when they were first mentioned and given note of, (Gen 11). Abram, Sarai (his barren wife) and family moved to a new land and he was "called", (Gen 12). Many events occur throughout this time...I imagine he retold of his calling many times; of being made "a great nation" as they moved from place to place and as a woman Sarai probably held onto that promise...yet every month, she was not living the promise told to her by her husband. For years, she honored him, even when he lied about her being his sister (more than once). Then in Gen 15, we see a renewed hope in the promise of heirs, as many as the stars. Abram had even looked to his potential heir who was a servant of his household, and God made yet another oath to him. Chapter 16 opens with Sarai giving her maidservant, Hagar, to Abram to conceive a child. Guess she felt like she needed to take the "promise" into her own hands and "make" it happen. Would you call that anxious? We women are so good at this! Urgh! Well, I am.
So Hagar gets pregnant, has a son, it appears there is finally a "star" to count. Abram was 86. Sarai hates Hagar, sends her away. Would you call that intimidated? But God blesses and restores Hagar. Thirteen years later, as Abram was walking with the Lord, blameless, he gets his name changed, gets the commandment to be circumcised, and is told of Sarah getting pregnant at 90. Her response is again typical of a woman who's plans were not that of her own. Cynical. Bewilderment. Aghast.
God's response is beautiful. (Gen 18:14) "Is there anything too hard for the LORD?"
Jump to years down the road, Issac is old enough to be weaned (Gen 21) and Sarah again wants to send Hagar and her son away. God honors Sarah's response this time, and tells Abraham to let them go, and yet God still meets with Hagar in her distress (Gen 21:17). The next big scene of God asking Abraham to take his son and offer him as a burnt sacrifice, makes no mention of Sarah. I am guessing ol' Abe new better, it was just going to be a three day out journey...guys time!
Sarah dies at 127 years old. She is honored by a choice tomb and grieved by her husband. After many years, he too died and was buried with her. (Gen 25)
Now you may be thinking I have led you on quite the rabbit trail, or you were wondering "I thought you were studying Joseph?" Here is where I take you to a spot of beauty.
In 1 Peter 3:4-6, Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as “my dear husband.” You’ll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.
See? Do you see that? Unanxious. Unintimidated. What? Are you as perplexed as me?
After meditating on this for weeks, I am thinking that hundreds of years later, as Peter was writing this letter, Sarah's reputation was the fruit of her life. Honor. Tenaciousness. Loyalty. Patience. She had been forgiven and her weaknesses forgotten during her quest of life. That to me is beautiful.
It is beautiful because I am so hard on myself. I yearn for the future of my girls to see and remember me as a woman who loves God. Who serves God. Who worships God. Who lives here knowing that there is so much more eternally. I get caught up in my weaknesses. I measure my faults. I want to be a daughter of Sarah, beautiful to God, unanxious and unintimidated. That to me is beautiful.