The Patience of Faith

beautiful yet barren

At the end of this month I am speaking at a local ladies’ retreat.  I am using the life of Sarah to show how we can lead legacy-leaving lives for those God has called us to disciple.  One of my sessions is titled “Of Beauty and Barrenness.”  In this session I take a look at how Sarah’s beauty, a characteristic most women desire, was not such an asset to her faith.  But her journey through years of barrenness was what God used to refine and build her faith, eventually leading to the birth of her son long after it was humanly possible for her aged body to conceive a child.

God was doing so much in Sarah’s life through her physical wanderings in the wilderness to build her up spiritually–we have the privilege of hindsight to see that in her life.  But she did not have that privilege, as we do not.  What we can actually see God doing in our lives is just the tip of the iceberg.  So much more is going on behind the scenes of our life, just like the majority of the iceberg is under the water, unseen.  Do we trust God with both the seen and the unseen?

How do we find the strength to go on when life leaves us feeling void and empty and unfulfilled–barren?  When we have been waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting…When even the thing we thought was an asset in our life gives us grief and causes us to stumble?

Strength for today and hope for tomorrow are sometimes realized–by you and me as well as by Sarah–in the patience of faith.  Elizabeth George, in her book entitled The Remarkable Women of the Bible, says, “Many lessons in faith require numerous review sessions.  After all, trust in the Lord is like a multi-faceted gem.  A facet is cut, the gem turned, and another facet incised” (29).  God wants us to turn our face, our fears, and our faith once again toward Him and to, once again, trust Him…day after day, month after month, year after year.  How do we do that?

1.  Pray – “The righteous cry out and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17).

2.  Trust – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding”–or anyone else’s!  (Proverbs 3:5).

3.  Believe – “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

4.  Wait – “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry” (Psalm 40:1) (29-30).

Beautiful, yet barren, Sarah.  Both characteristics were used by God to refine her and grow her faith.  But it took patience.  What are you waiting for?  God’s timetable is perfect.  Wait on the Lord.  Let Him renew your strength.  Then you can mount up on eagle’s wings, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint as you navigate the journey of life God has given you.


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