Laughing At The Impossible
A daily devotion for June 15th
9 "Where is your wife Sarah?" they asked him.
"There, in the tent," he said.
10 Then the LORD said, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son."
Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, which was behind him. 11 Abraham and Sarah were already old and well advanced in years, and Sarah was past the age of childbearing. 12 So Sarah laughed to herself as she thought, "After I am worn out and my master is old, will I now have this pleasure?"
13 Then the LORD said to Abraham, "Why did Sarah laugh and say, 'Will I really have a child, now that I am old?' 14 Is anything too hard for the LORD I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son."
15 Sarah was afraid, so she lied and said, "I did not laugh."
But he said, "Yes, you did laugh."
Is anything too hard for the LORD(Genesis 18:14)?
Sarah's laughter is cynical, unbelieving. If this were all of the story, we would be tempted to say that this woman is no example to follow. But over in the New Testament, in the book of Hebrews, we get the rest of the story. There, in that hall of fame of the heroes of faith, Sarah's name appears:
By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised (Hebrews 11:11 RSV).
After the guests left, Sarah was still thinking about what she had heard, and the words of the Lord came home to her heart in peculiar power—especially the question God had asked,
Is anything too difficult for the Lord? As Sarah thought about it, she had to face that question. She began to think of it—the Creator; the one who called out of nothing the vast world in which we live and beyond that the worlds that circle us in the limitless reaches of space; the one who sustains from day to day all the mighty, complex forces of earth, brings the sun up on time, guides the planets in their whirling courses, predicts human events and centuries later brings them to pass exactly as He promised. As Sarah began to think of the one who had said these words, she felt the full force of that question:
Is anything too difficult for the Lord? And she looked beyond the contrary facts of her own life and said,
Of course not. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. If He has promised, then it shall be done. Through faith she received power to conceive when she was past the age because she counted Him faithful who had promised.
What a beautiful lesson this is on the nature of faith. Faith looks beyond all the contrary circumstances to rest upon the character of the one who promised. Do not be misled by the popular delusion that faith stands by itself, that it is simply believing—anything! Faith must have a promise to rest upon. Anything else is presumption, gullibility, and folly. But when God has given a word, it is the Word of God, and it can be trusted, despite circumstance, feelings, or anything else. For is anything too difficult for the Lord?
Does it seem hard to you to be what God wants you to be? Is it hard to keep your evil nature in the place of death? It is not too hard for the Lord! Does it seem hard to you to be made sweet and gracious and forgiving and loving when down inside you know how nasty and devious and unpleasant and perverse you can be? It is hard for you, but it is not too hard for the Lord! Does it seem hard that the friend for whom you are praying should ever be converted, or the one that is now rebelling against grace can ever be changed? Is anything too hard for the Lord? Does some task that God is now asking of you seem impossible to perform? It may be hard for you, but it is not too hard for the Lord.
Lord, help me to believe in the midst of my own seeming impossible situations that nothing is impossible with You.
Life Application: When God asks something of us that seems impossible, do we lean harder on our own resources, or do we venture in faith based on His total adequacy?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.