Create + Write + Inspire
Comfort In Sarah's Laughter & A Promise to Remember
by Jennifer Kelly on December 2nd, 2014

Lately in the early morning, I scrunch up in a ball on my couch next to a window. I have forfeited my usual place at the dinner table, knowing that now it's getting cold and I need a different spot. One that will sink in and provide some warmth and comfort. It's dark and chilly outside and sipping black coffee before dawn is a necessity.

I usually take a quick glance outside my window and check the clock on my phone. Trying to understand just how much time I really have. I reach for a pen, my journal, and open that old-familiar Book. While I sit and read and write and meditate, my Tabby cat lays next to me. This is our routine most days.

And while I have this little window of time between me and God - You know - The peaceful space that exists when you rise early enough before the kids half-tumble out of bed, needing food and hugs and room to stretch. The girls usually rise with the sun. Both, the sun and my girls, start their daily activities of providing light and color into my life every morning. And I love it.

But, before this happens, I have this unique time that is so hard to come by as a wife and mom and friend. This quiet, make-shift sanctuary that happens in the early hours. And lately, I'm finding that my spirit is a bit anxious.

Prayer puts me in this middle place. A white space where no one else abides except Holy Feet and my thoughts. I try to quiet down enough to understand what my spirit and my heart are feeling and communicating to my brain (that may or may not be half asleep) and my Father in heaven. Oftentimes, I weep and say "I'm sorry" and speak about the things that matter to me right now. I blabber on about this and that, all in the comfort of my home; knowing that listening ears, a Father's love, and acceptance awaits me.

Every morning. Every single time.

And THIS. This is why I need this intentional time every day.
The reassurance.
The space for forgiveness and learning and growing and communicating.

As I sit and remember what this season is all about - this truly spiritual time of Advent - I Read the story of Old all over again. I think about God lowering Himself to become a baby. That precious, baby boy, being born to a virgin. The angels and shepherds and wise men who worshiped and cried out "Hallelujah".

And I do remember.
I remember the promise of God coming to fruition in a world that had all but forgotten.
To a world that needed hope and healing and a miracle.

Even before that. Before Mary's prayer. Before Bethlehem. Under the same stars that told the wise men where to find Jesus, stood Sarah. A lifetime ago, before the promise of God was delivered in a manger, a woman was given a promise. A promise of a child between her and her husband. This promise that would ultimately bring the greatest Blessing of all time: Jesus. The Savior of the world would eventually come, tracing all the way back to Abraham and Sarah. Kingdoms and countries and religions and generations of people would forever be changed from this one promise. So, Sarah waited. For years, Sarah walked through life and waited. Imperfectly, impatiently, and selfishly at times, waiting. Sometimes, trying to make God's promise happen in her own time.

Sarah was a woman just like me. 

Sarah witnessed the sun rise and fall. Her unanswered prayer kept going by. Day-by-day-by-day. I wonder how many times she found herself in times of quiet and meditation with anxiety? I imagine she would rise before the sun each morning too. Asking, praying and waiting.

A worn-out Sarah eventually laughing at God's audacity for such a miracle to happen when she found herself a 90 year lady in fragile shell of a body. A baby now? Still waiting, barely clinging to a promise from God, but honest enough within her own self to laugh. Really God? How can this be?

Fredrich Buechner writes, "Sarah and her husband had plenty of hard knocks in their time, and there were plenty more of them still to come, but at that moment when the angel told them they'd better start dipping into their old age pensions for cash to build a nursery, the reason they laughed was that it suddenly dawned on them that the wildest dreams they'd ever had hadn't been half wild enough (Gen. 17, 18, 21)".

And I guess I have a bit of Sarah in me. Here in this moment, under the same stars, I am waiting for Jesus to come again. For a promise to be fulfilled. I'm a bit worn-out, clinging to hope and God. And I read and remember. And I honestly wonder how such a miracle is ever going to happen...

If we can be honest, we don't speak to the full capacity of Jesus' return enough. What does eternity without longing mean to the parched souls in the here and now? What does Jesus' return mean for a world starving for hope, healing and a miracle?

This world that is so full of hate and division and war and hurt and greed and pain and regret. This great universe that is also filled with people and places and dreams and passion and wonders. Will Jesus come back? Do you really believe that?

So much time has passed since Jesus was here. So much has happened.

And I admit it: I laugh. What is God thinking? Is this really His plan? How can God use me? This girl that has been through so much, done so much, strayed so much. This same girl who has too often tried to take life into her own hands.

I mean JUST like Sarah doubted that she would experience pleasure and a baby at the age of 90, I wonder if I will experience all of what it means for me, my family, the church and the world when Jesus returns: True Peace and Joy and Wholeness.

I look at Sarah and LOVE her laughter. This laughter that comes from believing - but not knowing how God is going to pull it off.

And just as the Lord said to Sarah under those stars, He says to me, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"

Actually, that's all The Lord has ever really said.
He gave that speech in different ways to Job, to David, to Daniel, to Moses, to Joshua, and to Sarah. His name - is really the great "I AM".

From the beginning of time, He is encouraging, reassuring and forgiving. Despite the mistakes, selfishness, doubting, waywardness and sin. He is there. All He asks is that we believe and abide.

He seeks us out and says, "Follow me. Trust me. Hope in Me".

And so, while I sit all scrunched up like a ball on the couch, I remember. I take comfort in Sarah's laugh, lean into the promises of God, and trust that my Redeemer lives, and that He IS coming back again. Even if I don't know how He's going to pull it off.

Really, Christmas time reminds me how fickle and rushed and weak I am - and how great He is. In my laughter, in my wonder, in my hope, and in my weakness - I BELIEVE.

John Henry Newman reminds me, "...that faith and love have a real abiding-place on earth; that come what will, His grace is sufficient for His church, and His strength made perfect in weakness; that, "even to old age, and to hoar hairs, He will carry and deliver her."

I love this. This age-old faith that is found, felt and experienced (time and time again) through His endless grace. Grace in laughter, strength in weakness, and love in us all - despite us all.

Hebrews tells us that, "By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude - innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore" (Heb. 11:11-12;NKJV).

Just as I relate to Sarah and her laughter, I want to be remembered, so-much-more, for my trust in knowing that God is faithful. Jesus will return. His promise is true. And His love will last forever and ever.

His promises are written in the stars, heard in the echos of laughter, and found in the grace of His love. All of it, points to Jesus. My hope is that your Advent is a time of remembering God's fulfilled promise and the promise yet to come.

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April - December 11th, 2014 at 10:56 PM
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