In preparing to speak at a ladies’ retreat, I have been studying the life of Sarah. In 1 Peter 3:6, she is referenced for her obedience to her husband, Abraham. In thinking back on her story, I realized that when God called Abraham to leave his homeland for parts unknown, promising to make him a great nation in the process, Sarah wasn’t really in on the conversation. She followed her husband’s calling obediently, leaving behind a life of luxury in the heart of civilization at that time, to be a nomad in the wilderness of a foreign land for the rest of her life.
To me, wilderness is synonymous with loneliness. While sometimes we love to be in the wilderness to get away from the busyness of life, we usually like to return home at some point. Sarah did not have that option. And while I’m sure her tent was as lavish as tents could be in that time period, it wasn’t the same as her home in Ur or even Haran. Sarah was the master’s wife, with lots of servants but few close friends, and on top of that, she carried the burden and shame of barrenness in a society which esteemed child-bearing…not to mention the fact that her husband had left home with the promise of becoming a great nation, and how was that to happen through her!
Sarah’s obedience was a lonely obedience indeed. Sort of reminds me of those of us married to men in ministry. It’s hard to make close friends when your husband is the pastor or the missionary. Obedience to God’s calling can be a lonely proposition. But through it all, God is there, just like He was with Sarah, molding and shaping us to become the women He wants us to be. It took a long time, but God brought joy to Sarah in her latter years, I believe in part, due to her obedience to Him through her obedience to her husband and his call. May we be reminded in our moments of loneliness that God delights in our obedience to Him and rewards those who earnestly seek Him and do His will.
“…Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams” (I Sam. 15:22, NASB).