A look at Sarah from the Bible.
|As we see with Hagar’s story, Sarah, wife of Abraham, was an important figure in the Bible. While there is a lot said about her before becoming a mom, taking a look at her transformation into one is worth looking at. Before the birth of her son, Isaac, it could be said that Sarah was a jealous harpy who couldn’t stand being barren. She was impatient and doubtful that God would deliver on his progress. Finally, one day, the Bible says, God remembered Sarah and gave her a son. In Genesis 21:6, she says of the event: "God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me." Thus, she found happiness. |
Her son brought her joy, and she became fiercely protective of him. We see this in the story of her sending Hagar and Ishmael away. It is never more apparent, however, than in the famous story of when God sent Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Such an iconic story of faith The Bible doesn’t mention Sarah at all within it, but to say that afterwards she died in Hebron, far away from their encampment, The Book of Jasher, however, goes into more detail. Unlike the pictures depicting Abraham sacrificing his young son, Jasher states that Isaac was 37 years old at the time. It was hard on Sarah when Abraham told her they were going on a trip. She had never been separated from her beloved son in all those years. Abraham lied to her and told her that he was going to bring Isaac to Shem, the son of Noah, to learn the ways of the Lord from him, just as Abraham had learned them from Noah as a young boy.
Sarah argued, but in the end she agreed as long as he didn’t go too far or for too long. She stated that their souls were bound together. She fussed over Isaac all night, kissing and hugging him and giving him instructions well into the morning.
"And Sarah said to Abraham, ‘O my Lord, I pray you take heed of your son and place your eyes over him, for I have no other son nor daughter but him. O forsake him not. If he be hungry, give him bread, and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink; do not let him go on foot, nor let him sit in the car. Neither let him go by himself in the road, nor force him from whatever he may desire, but do unto him as he may say to you.’" (Jasher 23: 10–12)
Doesn’t this remind us of ourselves when we have to separate ourselves from our children? For their first day of school or even a first babysitter? So attached was she to her son that Sarah couldn’t bear to part from him. In fact, she followed them down the road and wept when she was told to go back to their tent.
I am not going to go into the story of the sacrifice, except to note that Jasher tells us that Isaac agreed to be sacrificed and that he and his father wrestled quite a bit with the devil, who wanted to see him fulfill that ritual. What is interesting about the story of Sarah is what occurs afterwards. When the Devil is unsuccessful in encouraging Isaac’s death, he goes to Sarah, who has not had any news of her husband or son until then. He disguised himself as a humble old man so that Sarah would not suspect him of deceit. He told her that Abraham had built an altar to the Lord and sacrificed their son. The devil told her that Isaac cried, but Abraham had no compassion and still killed him.
Sarah was deeply aggrieved. She cried and wept, but she found solace in the fact that her son died at the bidding of the Lord. Seeking answers, she stood up and left the tent. As she went, she asked everyone she passed if they had news of her husband and son. No one did, and she eventually came to Hebron with her servants. She sought her loved ones at the house of Shem, where Abraham had told her that he was bringing Isaac, but they were nowhere to be found. They couldn’t be found anywhere in the land of Hebron. Then the Devil came to her once more in disguise. He said that he had lied before and that Abraham had not killed Isaac. She was so happy at the news that "her soul went out through joy; she died and was gathered to her people" (Jasher 23:86).
When Abraham and Isaac returned home, they discovered that Sarah was gone. They searched far and wide for her, eventually finding out she had died in Hebron. They mourned for a long time, all the while bargaining for a good spot to bury her. Both the Bible and the Book of Jasher mention this conflict where Abraham had to convince Ephon, the son of Zochar, to sell him a cave in which to lay Sarah to rest with honor.
Sarah is remembered by history for many things, her faith in God being chief among them. Sarah’s greatest legacy, however, was her son Isaac. She fought for him, gave her very life for his well-being, and was greatly loved by her son in return. I can easily see myself in Sarah’s shoes as a mom. It is so easy to lose myself in my children. Where do I end, and they begin? The line is so blurred that it is almost nonexistent. As mothers, we are very invested in our children’s lives. We feed them, clothe them, run them to school, sports, etc. There have been seasons in my life where I wondered if I was even visible as anything other than the maid, the cook, and the chauffeur. Every moment of my day has been consumed with keeping my kids happy and healthy. Teaching them to grow up as strong, faithful followers of God is not an easy task. My son comes up with questions that I have not answered, such as "Does it rain in heaven?" My response was, "I believe so, as there is plenty to eat in heaven." The Bible talks of abundant vineyards.
Not only are we constantly teaching, but we are also always learning from our children as well. They look at the world in a different way, an innocent way that can only come from God. Perhaps this is why Sarah clung so tightly to Isaac. Keeping him at her side for 37 years is a long time. Isaac was her happiness. How can she let that go and go back to facing reality? Isn’t the transition to our kids going to school difficult? As a stay-at-home mom, what am I going to do with the extra time now that Morgan is starting preschool? I don’t have enough hours of her being out of the house to get a job. I am faced with the reality that the kids fill my life, and without them home, there is a void that I have to fill. Sarah faced this when she thought Isaac was dead. She didn’t want to go back to the unhappy life that being childless had been for her. So, she sought answers. It is easy to avoid reality when there is no evidence in front of you.
God wants us to know: He sees us! The Bible says in Psalm 34:15
"God is seeing you and attentive to your cries, hearing your needs, heartaches, and the longings of your heart."
We are not invisible to him. He witnesses everything we do on a daily basis.He sees our hearts and our intentions. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect; as long as we do our best and seek him always, he will guide us in our actions and even in our down times. My goal with these newfound extra hours of silence is to catch up on everything that has fallen by the wayside. Cleaning nooks that haven't been dusted in years, or preparing meals that take more than a half hour to prepare.Oh, the options now available! But most of all, I seek to spend at least half an hour of this newfound time with God. Like catching up with an old friend I haven’t spoken to in a while. I wonder what he has to say to me that I haven’t been able to hear for all the noise around me.
That is all God wants from us—to spend time with us. To be the one we turn to in all of our moments of silence. He wants to walk alongside us on our journeys through not only motherhood but what comes beyond. He just wants to be with us. Just as he was with Sarah throughout her life, taking her to him in that final moment of heartfelt joy at the news her son was alive. I don’t see that moment with a sense of tragedy. Instead, I see that even in her grief, she didn’t blame God. Instead, she understood that Isaac’s supposed death had been an act of God. She didn’t lose her faith, even when her reason for living was thought to have gone. Knowing her love for him, God didn’t want to be apart from her any longer. What an act of love that God showed his daughter!