Sarah’s Impatience

If I’ve ever had a spirit animal, or person rather, it’s Sarah. If you don’t know Sarah from the Bible, who had a baby at the ripe old age of ninety, let me introduce you to her and explain how I can see myself in her.

She’s relatable, trust me.

            Let me start with the story in Genesis 15 when Sarah was seventy-five years old and her husband, Abraham, was eighty-five years old. The Lord appeared to Abraham and said that he would have a son.

            After the initial shock and excitement of the miraculous news wore off, the waiting game began. I know when I’m waiting on God, it feels like it takes too long. Or I wonder if I heard God correctly. Sarah does the same thing, except in the waiting and questioning, she starts to take things into her own hands and timing. Surely God needs my help and ideas for this to come true.

            Some length of time after the Lord gave Abraham the promise of a family, Sarah became impatient. She wasn’t getting pregnant, so she gave her Egyptian servant, Hagar, to Abraham to have a baby for them. In trying to “help,” Sarah was effectively circumventing the Lord. Accepting God’s plan means we have to accept His timing and methods as well.

            Sarah’s version of the plan did work: Hagar had a baby with Abraham. You can read more about Hagar’s part in this story here. But that’s not what God had in mind, as evidenced by the Lord’s next message to Abraham. “I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son” (Gen. 18:10). At this point in the story, Abraham and Sarah were practically ancient and Sarah had gone through menopause!

Sarah was within earshot of the Lord’s declaration, and she laughed. It had been fifteen years since God originally told Abraham he would make of him “a great nation” (Gen. 12:2). Sarah already found her way around the waiting and tossed her patience out the window. So her reaction? She laughed at God. Can that even be done? Isn’t that blasphemous?

            The Lord allowed it in Sarah’s case.

            God even acknowledged Sarah’s laughter, which she denied because she was afraid. The Lord replied, “No, but you did laugh” (Gen. 18:15). God makes a point to notice the laughter; He can handle that. God allows us to work through our emotions. He’s also kind enough to remind us of how those emotions were resolved. When you were disappointed, when you laughed, when you were grieving and wondered if you’d ever be happy again, the Spirit can remind you of past events and how He has continued to show His faithfulness throughout years and circumstances.

            I find it hard to hold onto God’s promises when things look bleak or even just slow. I was convinced anesthesia school was the Lord’s plan for me. I made preparations for attending but then the first rejection letter came denying my entry. A year later, the second rejection letter came and the questions with it. Didn’t I hear God? Am I not worthy or capable enough? After my kids came along, I wasn’t sure I could be a mom and a student.

Still, I tried my own ways. I called the admissions office and applied to other schools. I collected more recommendation letters. I got better jobs, took classes, and updated grades.

What I couldn’t see was God arranging every single detail behind the scenes. My husband’s business boomed allowing me to leave my job and attend school full-time. The Lord provided a nanny to care for our two small boys.

            The Lord also significantly worked on my heart in the three years I didn’t get into school. While I waited, I worked as a death investigator which felt like a far cry from the career path I had envisioned. Looking back, I see how God used that job to cultivate a greater sense of compassion in me. He showed me how to acknowledge loved ones’ grieving hearts and convey messages of love when I told them their beloved had died. He showed me the cruel and dark, sinful world we live in when He put me in a hotel room where a son laid dead from an overdose while his phone lit up with calls from his mother and text after text of “I love you” and “I hope you’re okay.” God helped me through the investigation of a woman’s body in a dumpster, someone who had been thrown out by society, who probably didn’t know her worth. These situations taught me compassion and skills that I would need in the coming years.

            What would I have missed if I had circumvented the time of waiting and did it my way?

            The following year I got a job in a trauma intensive care unit and I applied to anesthesia

school once again. During my time in that unit, I was able to sit with families while they walked in the lowest valleys, making decisions regarding life support of their loved one. As taxing as the job was on every aspect of my well-being, this position enabled me to finally be accepted into anesthesia school!

In retrospect, God’s timing wasn’t actually moving slowly; He was making me ready. God was preparing me instead of holding out on me. A close friend asked me in my waiting why I didn’t give up applying for school. His well-intentioned question is something I still consider. I didn’t give up on God’s promises, but I did give up on my own timing. 

            During the waiting and the rejections, I had a slew of emotions. I laughed, cried, questioned, expressed my disappointment and grief, and threw fits. And over and over again, I threw out my plans and went back to God’s. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 and as an anesthesia provider now, I can see how each lesson learned, skill achieved, and experience gained in the waiting for the proper timing, God’s timing, was preparation for school and my professional career.  

            Sarah named her son, whom God had promised, Isaac which means “child of laughter.” What a poignant reminder to her of God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises even when the odds seem stacked. God can handle our laughter, our questions, our disappointments, our grief, our anger, our happiness, and every other emotion that comes on days when His promises and His timing feel out of reach. The God of big promises is also the God who can sit with our big emotions and still hold us tightly, lovingly, and patiently.

            What I love about this story in particular is even though Sarah questions, laughs, exhibits impatience, and tries her own way, God still delivers on His promise. She messed up in all the big ways she could. But the Lord can redeem our mistakes and our missteps that we make in the meantime. Our perfect God uses imperfect people in His time for His purposes.

            I’m sure you can think of a time when you waited on God and it felt too long, too painful, or too uncomfortable. Or maybe you’re in that situation right now. I pray that God would give you the courage to trust His timing, knowing He has a plan for you that is good.

Photo of Chelsea Dyck

Heyo! My name is Chelsea. I am a wife of twenty years and a mom of two boys. 

I do anesthesia by day and am a full-time boy mom at night. I enjoy writing about real life: the mess, the redemption, and everything in between. On any given day, you can find me dirt biking, four-wheeling, or watching a hockey game in Minnesota where we live. 

Our family motto is learning to live life with a longer table and a shorter fence. In real life, that looks like opening our home to junior hockey players and doing life alongside them. And it looks like mentoring birth moms and giving back to that brave group of women. 

Some of my passions are marriage, parenting, and adoption. They can all truly be messy topics at times, but they are areas where I’ve seen the Lord pour out His grace firsthand. 

I am along for the ride of life with you. I just happen to write about it as I go.