One day this week I was drawn to Genesis....the story of God's improbable promise to Abraham... when he was told by God that he was going to have a son by his wife Sarah well into old age. I will bless Sarah and will surely give you a son by her. (Gen 17:16)
Abraham falls face down, laughs and says to himself, Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety? (v.17) God reiterates his promise: Your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. (v.19).
How does a nearly 100-year-old man take that promise? From a human standpoint, he would perhaps be filled with cynicism (Yeah, right, God), or consider God someone who preyed on people's emotions (I know what Sarah's infertility did to her emotionally), or be filled with a complete sense of disbelief. I mean, the utter ridiculousness of the whole idea. Sarah is around 90, for goodness sakes. This is folly. From a human standpoint.
Later, God appears to Abraham near the entrance to his tent. Sarah is in the tent, eavesdropping. She hears God tell her husband that in a year's time, he and Sarah would have a son. Well past the age of childbearing, Sarah laughs to herself as she thought, After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure? (Gen 18:12).
The Lord hears Sarah and says to Abraham, Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son. (v. 14)
Faced with a promise from the Creator of the universe that was utterly impossible for them to fathom, Abraham chooses faith. He chooses to believe what he could not see and would not see for many months. Heb 11:11 tells us: By faith, Abraham, even though he was past age, and Sarah was barren, was enabled to become a father BECAUSE he considered God FAITHFUL who had made the promise!
Abraham takes God at his Word. There was nothing believable about the promise.....but it was spoken by the only One who is totally believable and trustworthy and faithful.
Gen 21:1-3 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.
As per God's instructions, Abraham and Sarah name their son Isaac, which mean laughter. I can see them both now, giddy with chuckles and gratitude for this improbable baby boy. Laughter. The perfect name.
It tells us in Romans 4:18-21: Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations. WITHOUT WEAKENING IN HIS FAITH, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead... and that Sarah's womb was also dead. YET HE DID NOT WAVER THROUGH UNBELIEF regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that GOD had the power TO DO WHAT HE HAD PROMISED!!
Through this story that I have always loved, God reminds me that his promises for healing are laced throughout His Word, and that He is a God who keeps his promises. Healing of incurable stage 4 lung cancer could, on a human level, make me roll my eyes upward like Sarah did. But I worship a God who specializes in the impossible and I will be an Abraham, unwavering in my belief that God will do what He has promised, and have total faith in something that I cannot see or feel or hear or touch. And I have complete faith that my day of laughter is within reach.