Pray: To open your time together.
Read: Genesis 16: 1-6; 17: 15-17; 18:9-15; 21: 1-7
Consider: Some thoughts for your group
Faith is not a rational concept. The apostle Paul says that the ways of Christ seem like foolishness to men. Perhaps there is not better depiction of this concept in scripture than the story of Sarah. She doubts God’s faithfulness and goodness throughout her journey to motherhood. She is mistreated and she mistreats others. She feels forgotten and even cursed. But ultimately God is faithful.
Sarah’s journey of faith is not a pretty picture. How many of us can relate? The faith journey is often an ugly road of twist, turns and heartache. Perhaps this happens to us because we have the wrong person at the center of our focus. If we pull up 30,000 feet and get a Gods eye view of Sarah’s story we will find that for much of her journey she has placed herself at the center. We cannot blame Sarah for this. We are all guilty of the same self-focused pursuits. But perhaps we can learn from our ancient sister.
Sarah was convinced that her fulfillment as a woman, a wife, a mother, and even her place in the community would be fulfilled by having a son. In her mind, she was incomplete. This way of seeing herself distorted her perception of her value and in the end cost her much of her life happiness and peace.
Of course, there was tremendous cultural pressure on every woman to fulfill this specific role in her marriage and community. It would be unfair to criticize Sarah for wanting to do what was being required of her. But we can use what we see in Sarah’s story to reflect on how we will choose to follow God today. In the end, Sarah was consumed by bitterness and reacted in cynicism to God’s promise. How will we wait for God’s promises to be fulfilled in our own life?
- What is something that you have been waiting for and praying for that has yet to be fulfilled in your life? How have you submitted this hope to God?
- What does waiting in faith look like in your life? Understandably, we all can take on parts of Sarah’s cynicism, doubt, and anger while we wait. How do you personally resist and/or reset your heart to hope in God?
- Sarah created even more pain and suffering in her life by taking matters into her own hands. How do we decide when to act and when to wait? What role does prayer, wisdom, and seeking counsel from trusted mentors and friends play in your own journey of faith?
Spend some time praying for one another. Ask if anyone has prayer requests for the week ahead and pray for a renewed hope in the places your group is waiting in faith. Pray for the grace and peace of Christ to be present for each other as we wait in expectation of what God will do.