The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
Last week, I needed to emphasize a life lesson and a character issue with my oldest daughter. Leaning in close to her, nose to nose, I cradled her chin gently in my hand and met her gaze. Her face was reddened by anger, her fists clenched tightly at her side, her body tense. And I began with these whispered words, “I love you.”
Behind her, my youngest baby girl stood watching us intently. When she heard my first words to oldest sister, my tiny one began bouncing up and down in excited anticipation. With the limited vocabulary of “Mama, mama, mama!!” and her little dance, I knew what she meant. She was saying, “Me next, Mom! My turn!!! What about me? Do you love me, too? Tell me you love me, too!”
Have you ever been the “other child” jumping up and down before God, trying to attract His attention? Have you listened to a friend testify to the miracle God did for her and cried out, “Me next, God!”? Have you sat silently in the corner of the small group room, listening to others talk about how God spoke to them, how He gave them this verse, how He told them to do something and wondered exactly what God’s voice sounded like? Because you don’t know if you’ve ever even heard it. So, you sit at your table with your Bible and journal and pen and say, “Okay, God, let’s get this You speaking to me thing started!” And you read God’s Word. And that’s it. No lightning strikes or neon signs for you.
Then you ask
What about me, God?
I know You “so loved the world,” but do You love me?
I know You “know the plans” You have for people, but do You have a plan for me?
I know You are “The God Who Sees,” but do You ever see me, one tiny person on this planet of people?
There are those times, even for those of us who have walked with God for decades, when we hear silence from heaven and our prayers, heartfelt and constant as they are, remain seemingly unanswered. We’ve checked our hearts; it’s not sin blocking God from our view. And so we dance for Him, we wave our hands at heaven, we remain on our knees a little longer, we press in a little closer—all so that He will get personal with us. Not general love. Specific love. Not universal plans. Personal plans. Not just words on a page. A message designed for us.
When I read the account of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar, I wonder if Sarah was doing her own jig before God and asking “What about me?” Walk through this story with me and you’ll see what I mean.
In Genesis 15, God came to Abraham and promised him a flesh-and-blood heir and offspring as numerous as the innumerable stars in the sky (Genesis 15:4-5). But God was silent about Sarah. As far as the promise stood, Abraham could have fathered the child of promise through anyone. From Sarah’s perspective, Abraham was the chosen and anointed one and she was the barren wife standing in the way.
In Genesis 16, moved by a desire to see God’s promise fulfilled, Sarah steps aside, asks Abraham to marry her maidservant Hagar and he does. When Hagar, so easily pregnant while Sarah had spent decades with negative pregnancy tests, began to mock her mistress, Sarah threw her out. Forget this surrogate motherhood thing. Sarah decided no heir was better than an upstart maidservant with a baby on her hip.
There in the wilderness on the way back to Egypt, God appears to Hagar. He tells her to name this son Ishmael and adds, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count” (Genesis 16:10).
Can you imagine what Hagar’s homecoming reception must have been like for Sarah? She stood by while Hagar announced that not only was she carrying Abraham’s child, but that it would be a son and his name was picked out by God and he was promised numerous descendants.
Sounds like the answer to the promise to me. It probably sounded that way to Sarah, too. God appeared to Abraham and blessed him. God appeared to Hagar, the Egyptian slave girl, and blessed her. Sarah stood in the corner appearing overlooked and pushed aside.
In Genesis 17, God reappears to Abraham and clarifies the promise, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her” (Genesis 17:16).
I know you’re thinking, “It’s about time” because I certainly am! The funny thing is, Abraham didn’t seem to bother telling Sarah anything about this. He kept this astounding promise to himself while she was still waiting to be noticed.
Finally, in Genesis 18, the Lord personally visited Abraham’s camp and asked one important question before making any more statements of promise—“Where is your wife Sarah?” This was no message just for Abraham. This was no promise meant for everyone other than Sarah. No, God called out her name to get her attention, to make sure she was listening at the flaps of her tent before He said anything else. Then, once He knew she was poised to hear, He gave the promise, spoken for her benefit—“I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son.”
She laughed! It seemed unbelievable that God could include her in this promise, a promise so outside the realm of physical possibility. If Abraham had told her about God’s latest visit to him, maybe Sarah would have been prepared for this, but instead she was surprised, even taken off guard and skeptical. After all this time, it must have seemed like God’s promises were for everyone but her, that He appeared to others but not to her, and that He had a plan for everyone except Sarah.
And yet God had a plan for her, a blessing for her, a message just for her.
He does for you, as well. Heaven might seem silent at the moment. You may see God at work in the lives of others and feel His absence in your own circumstances. God, however, is a personal God, with a plan, a blessing, a message just for you. “Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay” (Habakkuk 2:3).
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2011 Heather King