“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.” (Hebrews 11:11, AV)
When I was the director of single adult ministries at a church in Savannah Georgia the single adult praise team was having an evening practice at the church building. During the practice, our base player’s truck was stolen. In it was his expensive set of golf clubs, and his wallet with about $100 in it. the wallet was sitting on the passenger seat in plain view. We called the police and they came to take their report. After they left, I gathered all the team in the parking lot.
We stood in a circle holding hands and I prayed something like this. “Lord, we ask that the truck would be found in good shape. We also ask that the set of golf clubs and the wallet with all the money in it would be found in the truck exactly as they were left.” A day later thinking about the prayer, I thought what a foolish prayer. I was asking the impossible. I was certain that the man’s wallet was gone for good.
Two weeks later the police still had not found the truck. My heart sank as I remembered the prayer and the young people in my charge. What would this do to their faith. I had prayed for the impossible. I prayed again to the Lord, realizing He was the only one who could work a miracle. A short while later, I received word. The police found the truck. It was undamaged. Moreover, the golf clubs were still there and the wallet with the money in it were sitting in the exact spot where it was left.
Often our faith falters as we forget that God is the only one who can do what we see as impossible. The author of Hebrews speaks of Sarah’s faith along with Abraham’s in fulfilling the promise of numerable descendants. If you remember the story from Genesis, God had promised that He would make Abraham a mighty nation (Gen 12:2) and that from Abraham’s own son he would have descendants numerous as the stars of heaven (Gen 15:4-6).
Time goes by and Sarah encouraged Abraham to have a child with her servant Hagar. Abraham did and the child was named Ishmael (Gen 16). However, this was not the Lord’s plan.
Later, The Lord announced to Abraham (Gen 17:15, ff.) and later Sarah heard (Gen 18:9-15) that they would have a son born by the union of Sarah and Abraham. However, when each one of them heard this, each laughed at the thought. The reason was that Abraham was a hundred years old and Sarah was ninety and far beyond child bearing years. What the Lord said seemed humanly impossible.
It seems to us that Abraham and Sarah lacked faith. Yet, the writer states “Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised” (Hebrews 11:11, AV). While human observation led her to see the impossibility, it seems that both Sara and Abraham realized that God was the only one who could do this humanly impossible thing. And this is exactly what happened.
Often, when we confront impossible situations, we infuse our human reasoning and conclude things are impossible. True faith takes us beyond human reasoning to see the God of possibility. While we may laugh or scoff at the possibility of something happening, the faith we need is that which sees the Lord our God as the only hope of doing the impossible, combined with trusting in Him to do it. This does not mean that we get everything we want. However, it does mean that we trust Him to work the impossible in our lives when it is in His most sovereign purposes to do so.