• Heidi J. Smith

Princess with a Mess: Lesson from Sarah

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12 NIV

Photo credit to Sharon Mccutcheon from Unsplash

Have you ever wanted something so bad that it hurt?

Maybe you have been praying for a spouse, a baby, or a wayward child. Or you long for healing, forgiveness, or acceptance.

Your persistent prayers seem wasted and unheard. You plaster a smile on your face during the day, but tears soak your pillow at night. Your heart bleeds pain, and your head doubts, "God, do you see me? Will you ever answer my prayer?"

In my life, I pleaded with God for my son's eye, and I'm still waiting.

In the Bible, Sarah pleaded with God for a child and waited and waited.

How did she handle not getting her wish? How should we handle unanswered prayers?

Let's step back in time and imagine what it might have been like.

Godly Abraham married beautiful Sarah. God promised them blessings, but Sarah was barren (Genesis 11:29-30; 12:1-3). In their culture, barrenness symbolized shame and


Sarah longed to nurse her own child and tuck him into bed each night. But as the years past, her sister-in-law Milcah birthed eight sons (Genesis 22:20-23) and she had none.

Discouraged and doubting God, she decided to take matters into her own hands. Yes, God promised me heir, but He must have forgotten about me. It has been decades, and I'm old. Maybe Abraham should have children with Hagar...

Abraham listened to Sarah's idea and took Hagar. She conceived and gave birth to Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-4).

Jealousy burned in Sarah's heart. Why can she can have a baby and I can't? Why is Hagar disrespecting me? Upset, she blamed her husband and mistreated Hagar (Genesis 16:4-6).

As the years past, Sarah watched Ismael turn a year older and wished for her own child. When will God answer my prayer? I thought God loved me? Her impatience divided their home, and today the Arabs and Israelites still fight.

IMPATIENCE creates a MESS, but with PATIENCE God will BLESS.

After twenty-five years of waiting, God blessed Sarah with Isaac. He kept His promise and His timing was perfect (Genesis 21:1-3). He received all the glory because it was a miracle for a ninety-year-old woman to give birth! Nothing was too hard for God!

Waiting is hard because it reveals what we are depending on. Am I going to trust God, or does He need my help? I won't say it audibly, but my actions show my heart.

Waiting refines our character. We learn patience, appreciation, and maturity (James 1:4).

Waiting reminds us of God's sovereignty and power. If we could solve the situation ourselves, we would try because we are self-sufficient. But when God answers our requests, we realize our complete dependence on Him, His timing, and His ways. He receives all the glory.

As we wait for God's timing...

Are we blaming others for our impatience or wrong choices? Are we jealous of others' happiness? Have we given up on God? Are we trying to control the situation?

Remember waiting reveals our stronghold, refines our character, and reminds us of God's sovereignty. May we learn from Sarah's mess and wait for God to bless.

Lord, waiting is hard because it requires a complete dependence on You and your terms. Please forgive my impatience and faithlessness. Please help me to trust you completely and wait for You to bless.

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Heidi J. Smith