Women in the Bible I: Day

Sarah: nothing is too hard for the Lord

by

Text: Genesis 17:1-8, 15-19; Genesis 18:6-15; Genesis 21:1-7

Our story so far with Sarai has been up and down.  She says “yes” and we cheer. Her faith falters and becomes self-reliant and we groan.

But then comes the rest—the best part of the story.

Because, with God, just like that, everything can change. 

Though we may fail to trust His promises and made a huge mess of things, His mercy sees through it all. He looks beyond our past mistakes and our present faults and redeems them for His glory. He loves us. He keeps his promises. He scoops us up in His arms, reclaims us as His, and in His unyielding forgiveness, gives us a completely new identity in Him. He takes us from self-made noblewomen (Sarai) to His princesses (Sarah). (Genesis 17:15-17)

Sure, even as transformed women, we will have our moments of hesitation. We will have our own times when we have the glory of God right in front of us, and we stay in the tent. We will hear His promise and, in spite of ourselves, laugh, partly out of joy and partly out of disbelief. (Genesis 18:9-12)

Still, God will respond. He will be faithful. He will fulfill His promise, blessing us with the desire that He alone put on our hearts. And, as it often does with the stories of our own lives, everything makes sense in the end.

Sarah, well into her nineties, became a mother. Sarah brought forth the seed that would ultimately lead to Christ. Sarah leaves us a legacy of faith.

Because, as she learned, nothing—no matter how improbable, no matter how impossible it is to see, no matter how much it goes against everything we know—nothing is too hard for the Lord. (Genesis 18:14)

Let’s praise Him today, Sisters, for the legacy He created for us in Sarah and the miracles He has already put in motion in our lives.

  • I started this plan a while ago, even though I completed it there was some days that I have skipped. God works in mysterious ways, because He knew I needed this word. He knew that this word was what I needed tonight, so in his infinite wisdom he gave it to me I am blessed. Truly

  • A great reminder that God can use women when we think there is no use left. God is faithful and I love Him all the more for that!

  • cristenah5

    This came to me on the day that I needed it. It brought me a sense of peace and comfort. I can really relate to Sarah when it comes to questioning and doubting God. When things don't happen when we (Sarah and I) think they should, we try to take control and usually make a mess out of things. So thankful that God gives us another chance.

    It's time to step out of the disbelief and believe.

    • Karen

      I agree with you totally! Praise God! He knows us so well, yet we fail so often to get to know Him!

  • This is funny because I feel as if I acted the same way as Sarah, as I remember we were having a prayer night one evening and our pastor saw a vision of me, which I thought could never happen, although it was a good thing he saw. And when he talked about this vision all I could do was laugh out of disbelieve, but also out of joy.

    But it’s true nothing’s ever too hard for him.

  • It’s amazing how much I needed to read this tonight. I’ve really been struggling with what God’s plans are in my life (especially in some certain areas right now) and this really reminde me that His plan always comes together– even when don’t see a possible way.

  • My goodness I can't imagine how Sarah must have felt. She laughed in joy and disbelief and I don't blame her! There have been times when God said, "Drop this and do this." and I would be angry. God closed the door to college volleyball and opened it to…college choir? Like really God, what the heck are you doing? That was my thought process but its all been a blessing. I've realized that I am no longer in control of my life- its allllll Him.

  • Nothing is too hard for The Lord at all, how many times have I been able to experience the miracles of The Lord. Yet again in time of despair I worry I go crazy I think the world is going to end and forget the many times The Lord has helped me walk in my waters. We need to keep in mind those times and never for a moment doubt that God has his best interest in us. Thank you Jesus

  • This devotional is an encouragement to each of us that allows us to see that God’s promises will come to pass. We also can see the hand of God move in the prayers that have been requested thus far. All honor, glory and praise to our Lord and Savior!

  • Ktowngirl

    This was a great study today! I am once again reminded that God is not restrained from fulfilling his plan by my disbelief. Nothing is impossible with God: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” Gen 18:14. Just like He made a promise to Sarah, God has made promises for me too. Found throughout the New Testament He has promised his Holy Spirit to remain in me and to guide me all of my life. That’s a big one! I am not alone or rudderless. Also He has promised to finish the work he began in me. I cannot end that work prematurely with my own failures, sin or inadequacy. There are so many promises for me, and like Sarah, I am destined to receive them, because the one who promised never fails!

    • Candacejo

      Oh I loved that! I am not rudderless! You gave an awesome word picture and a sermon all at once! Blessings!

  • Tina Blankson.

    Sorry i somehow pressed the send button. …

    ….That that was a good thing to do….

    Thank you for these wonderful women who have held my friend and i up to you in our time of need, covered us us in love and prayers. Lord God, i pray now for them each and every one of them, that you bless them wherever they are and whatever they are doing, Lord i ask you be gracious and kind to them and lord i pray you look on them with favour and give them your peace your shalom. …. Amen…
    Thank you again my sisters…..
    I can truly say today the lord promised good to me and delivered. ….Nothing is truly too hard for Our God.
    I will praise God with a song, i will proclaim his greatness by giving him thanks. . Psalm 69:30 x

    • Catherine_K_L

      Tina, thank you for the update. I usually read these devotions in the morning, but didn't today. Had to stop reading after your comment to pray for Bex. You're a great friend and the best witness to her is your friendship, love, your life! You're being God's light for her, you are being the salt! I will continue to pray for you both. May I encourage you to mark your calendar with Bex's (would be) due date and be a special friend to her on that day, too. I had a miscarriage once, and even though I had two beautiful children already, and thought I had healed emotionally by then, that due date brought a lot of tears and sadness for me because I was supposed to be having a baby that day! God bless you!

    • Irene

      Hi Tina,

      I am glad you have been there for your friend and encouraged her. But PLEASE take any mention of suicide seriously. Someone I love very much confided their suicidal thoughts in much a same manner and received love, encouragement and prayers. But that was not enough – they needed action and medical help and they did not receive it and the consequences were very sad. Please don't repeat that mistake. If your friend is still talking about suicide, you need to take her to a doctor immediately for evaluation. I will pray for you and your friend.

  • Tina Blankson.

    My dearest dearest sisters in Christ, Thank you so very very much for your love and prayers. I felt Bex and i have been covered in prayer, throughout our day together. It wasn.t easy, some me it quite painful, most of spent in love listening, loving, and just being generally there for her. There was a time in her letting off steam about how he there was a God why would this happen. . . I told her there was a God and that he loved her and her baby girl and that she was now safe with him, a bit more ranting and raving on her part. . I told her God still loved her and that there are women all over the world who were lifting her up to our God as we spoke.. What people that don.t know me are praying for me, she asked. I said yes, because i was so frightened for her i reached out to my sisters for prayer. . I read some me your messages out to her. . She was amazed that people who did not know would do that for her. . . Later on when, i heard her say to her partners daughter who told her she had lit a candle for her when she was in a cathedral,

  • Tina, praying for you and Bex. I pray that God will use you in a mighty way and that He will continue to guide you in knowing when to speak and when to be silent. I know for myself, that often all I want is someone to LISTEN and not offer advice- just compassion. I also pray that this devestating loss is a vehicle for God to draw Bex to Him.

    Muppetbaby, I am lifting you up to The Lord as well. I have been there, divorced with children and completely drained dry… I second everything that JuneBug said! There is a LOT of wisdom in her words… Allow yourself to honestly feel and grieve. And if I may… One thing I have learned that is so important: HOLD ON to God, and His promises, even – and especially when – you don’t FEEL Him. I have been in places of utter hopelessness, and CHOOSING to trust Him and His Word has made all the difference.

    Praying Blessing on all of you, sisters in Christ!

  • I absolutely love how the ESV translates Genesis 21:6 "And Sarah said, 'God has made laughter for me, everyone who hears will laugh over me' ". I think that there is a lot of joy in Sarah's statement- that God MADE laughter for her- that wording really speaks to me as a girl who can rarely stop laughing ;) I also totally love that the translation of the name "Issac" is "he laughs"!

  • Candacejo- I love that she gets caught for laughing too! I think it's is one of my most favorite parts in this portion. I think it's so funny to read it because I can so relate to times when I have denied something I have done myself. Then God catches me in the act by saying, "No, but you DID…

    -doubt
    -think that terrible thought
    -prejudge one of my children unfairly
    -get a kick out of that course joke
    -speak harshly to the telemarketer

    The last example I was convicted of this just this week. For some reason, I have treated telemarketers as pests instead of humans who are just doing jobs, and like many people, struggling to feed their families.

    The point is, that nothing passes God's attention. He sees all of our flaws and failures. He doesn't let us get away with them either. He's got our number and He'll call us on them every time. Yet…as He did with Sarah, He uses imperfect people like us to reveal His glory. We are so valuable to God. It's yet another profound mystery to thank Him for.

    • Candacejo

      Oooh….yes, even things like that do matter to God! And we are all guilty :( Lord, put a watchman at the door of my mouth! And et him carry a big stick! :)

  • Praying for you Tina and Bex. Praying that Bex will feel God’s love through you and be drawn into His arms! Praying that He speaks His words of comfort through you. Praying she will hear His soothing voice above the hurt. Nothing is to hard for The Lord!

  • Muppetbaby

    Nothing is too hard for the Lord-powerful devotion this morning. I'm spiritually struggling. My ex husband left in March 2011 and the divorce was final June 2012. I have a beautiful 4 year old son that keeps me going. However, some days I just don't think I can make it. Like last night, I was tired. Tired of pretending it was okay, tired of fighting my own demons and satan's continued jabs at me because he knows those weaknesses/demons. I'm still grieving the loss of what I thought would be a lifetime of together despite ups and downs. I'm tired and sad ladies. and I'm TIRED of being tired and sad. I talk to God, but sometimes don't know what to say. Last night I couldn't utter a prayer. But as I read nothing is too hard for the Lord if I just believe.

    • Keilah

      Prayed for you Muppetbaby…. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NLT)

    • JuneBug

      Muppetbaby- I can relate. I went through the heartache of a divorce and struggled with the vicious circle of "tired and sad" too. I also know those time when there are no words available to offer a prayer for help, healing and peace. When the fog of despair feels so thick.

      I just want to encourage you. LET yourself be sad and tired. It might seem like a strange thing to say to "encourage" someone, but if you're anything like me, I felt so guilty for going through the emotions that were necessary for grieving and then healing. We feel like we are not being good mothers, good friends, good daughters when we are consumed with the kind of deep pain a failed marriage can bring. So we put on a brave smile and pretend that we are doing "okay" when we are not. If this does not sound familiar, please disregard the rest of my ramblings…

      There is a lot of healing to do after a divorce, and even though you don't feel like you can utter a prayer to God at times, He is still near. He is "near to the brokenhearted" (Psalm 34:18). He understands the inner "groanings" of your heart better than any of the words you will ever speak.

      "And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently." Romans 8:23-25 NLT

      Hang in there sister! Stay close to God and if you haven't already, find a trustworthy, mature, Christian sister to pray with and keep in touch with for support. Reach out. But, please don't pretend. It only delays the healing. Be sad, be angry, be discouraged, be tired if that's where you are at…just take it to God. Don't hide it from Him. He'll accept you just the way you are as you come to Him.

      Praying for you today in love! Hugs!

  • I love this. Knowing the promises for me stated both in the bible and by God personally to me, it can be incredibly hard to see them as valid when everything else in life seems to just be going against it. Many times, I've probably up and turned away from the path that led directly to them, because of how ridiculous it seemed. Father, I pray that I would not turn away anymore. I pray that when I'd hear your voice, I'd listen and follow, no matter how ridiculous it seems. With you, NOTHING is impossible; the glory you have planned for me is something I cannot even fathom, father. Help me to remember all of this when everything seems against you and against the promises you've promised me.
    Praying for you and Bex, Tina. I understand the hardship that being a friend can sometimes put on. My eyes are tearing up praying for the both of you, and my heart goes out to Bex; I pray that God would be near to both of you right now. "And with you, Father, we have strength to face the day."

  • Before I read all the wonderful insights and comments I want to say what stuck out to me. I've read this account of Abraham and Sarah many times, but what popped out was Gen. 17:5 when God changed Abram's name He said I HAVE made you a father of many nations. Although the promise had yet to be fulfilled this side of eternity, on God's timetable it was ALREADY DONE. Abraham had to wait another 10 years for the fulfillment,and that was after the Lord spoke to him.

    Would I have waited? Would I have have the faith to believe that I heard from God or was that my own wishful thinking? I would like to think I would, but I know myself and I believe that I would be more like Sarah. Even when the Lord appeared to Abraham 9 years later and told him in person, Sarah laughed.

    I have to keep in mind that God does have a plan for each of us and that it's already been fulfilled on God's timetable. He see's the big picture and knows what's best for us we just think we know what's best.

    I love what Sarah said in the devotion: Because, as she learned, nothing—no matter how improbable, no matter how impossible it is to see, no matter how much it goes against everything we know—nothing is too hard for the Lord. (Genesis 18:14). Also even when we make a mess of our lives God is always faithful to fulfill His promises. Thank you Father that you are always faithful, even when I am faithless. Thank you that you love me in spite of myself and all my mistakes. Help me this day to glorify you and to be a blessing to all those with whom I come in contact.

  • I was curious about Sarah’s age at her death. Turns out she was 127 when she died. So even though she was 90 by today’s standards she was probably the equivalent of about 60. Still too old to have children naturally!

    One thing I think is that we need to be cautious about superimposing our culture onto this story. Sarah was very human and part of an ancient nomadic shepherding culture. Yes she is a woman of faith and an outstanding example to us. But she thought nothing of offering Hagar to her husband who eagerly accepted. I found a great blog post from 2010 that I found interesting and thought provoking. http://seekingahomeland.blogspot.com/2010/01/wome

    • JuneBug

      Thanks for the age comparison! It helps put Sarah's age in context of today's lifespan.

  • jesusgirl71

    I felt so badly last night because I failed yesterday when I thought I had been doing so well. I wasn't as patient with some customers as I feel i hsould have been. Oh I praise you, Lord, that when we fail, you lift us up; you don't give up on us. thank you!

  • Praying for you, Tina! And Bex! “He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 11) and you know one of my favorite things about Jesus is that he is so good at meeting us right where we are!! Just like Abraham and Sarah, he didn’t deny the fact that they were older and well past child bearing years, he acknowledged it, and still told them to put their faith in him. He is so faithful to carry us through. Praying that you both would be comforted, and that the Holy Spirit would use you to speak to and comfort Bex!

  • rocknitat55

    Imagine the smile in my heart and the tear on my face as I read our Dev today. I woke up this morning in severe pain(as I sometime do), I actually needed my walker this morning just to get to the bathroom. While doing this I was going over the promises that God had made me in my head, I’m sure I was just like sarah so wrapped up in my present day situation, my pain, my limitations. The more I thought, the more I hurt, the more I began to laugh(doubt).

    Suddenly my spirit leaped and I heard my heart say IS THERE ANY THING TO HARD FOR GOD?

    Then I make it to my study and open up my SRT Dev. A confirmation.

    Ladies this is one day i’d like to stay in the TENT. But I can’t, I must be about my father’s business.

    So what if I’m not running, skipping, I’m going.

    I feel I had a visit from God this morning thru SRT, he found me laughing/doubting

    I am healed in Jesus name. Ladies have a great day.

    • Leslie

      Praying for your body today! May the God of all comfort show His mighty hand through you! Love you, sister! God is so good!

  • Graphics

    I love reading the Old Testament stories that show us REAL people. Sarah is so real. She doubts and laughs and just keeps living. And we see all of her mistakes and then her redemption when at 90 she becomes a mother. One thing that is interesting is that Sarah didn't really believe that she could conceive. We always talk about believing that God can do anything and that we shouldn't doubt, but Sarah doubted and still the seemingly impossible happened.

    Much Grace

  • T Thomas

    Matthew 5:4 ESV

    “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    Tina praying for you both and that you would both be comforted having to experience the same type of loss.

  • Tina, rest assured that Bex is covered in prayer. I pray also that her heart is softened to the wooing of Christ.

  • amykelly213

    "nothing—no matter how improbable, no matter how impossible it is to see, no matter how much it goes against everything we know—nothing is too hard for the Lord."
    I need this this morning. God knows my need. He knows my heart. And I know He is in control!!

    • rocknitat55

      And know Amy, that whatever it is, HE will do exceedelingly, above,
      What u r asking. God Bless u.

  • God is the maker of all things, including laughter. Like Sarah, sometimes you can't help but laugh out loud at the mysterious ways in which God works…and also laugh for joy when His blessings unfold! What a mysterious and wonderful God we serve! So thankful for the lessons that Sarah has taught us–about waiting on His plan and faithfulness to trust in the Lord when His plans seem impossible! Praying for all you beautiful ladies this morning and praying for Tina, Bex, and Keilah!

  • Today I am praying for the kind of direction that God gave to Abraham and Sarah. I want to have a promise – a desire, a direction, a future – from the Lord.

  • The readings listed above are different from the ones listed in youversion. Which is right?

    Tina, I will be praying for you and Bex. I have seen the darkness of wanting to take your own life and it is difficult to walk away from it. But God will be there for both of you, and I pray that Bex may feel his presence.

    • megan w

      Actually after looking back all of the readings for this plan listed on Youversion have been different. Guess I’ve been missing out on half the message.

      • Candacejo

        The one this morning here on SRT added in the 21st chapter where Sarah actually delivers the baby. Not sure why the 17th chapter is messed up :) Or YouVersion is missing the 21st chapter, lol. Either way we know she has the baby, ha! If we read them both we are covered :)

  • Tina, I am praying with you. The God thing about God is in our hardest and darkest times is when He reveals Himself to us. I know it from experience. God will see Bex through this.

  • Candacejo

    I love what Sarah said in the NLT version, "…a worn-out woman like me…" That's the way we feel sometimes, just too tired for the journey, too exhausted to go on. But God has bigger plans for us! Whether we are old physically or just tired from the cares of life, He wants to use us again. Is anything too hard for the Lord? No!

    And I REALLY love that she gets caught for laughing…"No, but you DID laugh…" Some things in the Bible are just funny. Poor Sarah, I can imagine how hard it was to believe at her age that she would have a child! And as she put it, "With this old man of a husband?" The Message

    But she did, God was faithful and she was part of a great lineage!

    Love what our own Sarah said today, "We will have our own times when we have the glory of God right in front of us, and we stay in the tent.." Lord, help me to get out of the tent and recognize what you are wanting to do WITH me and THROUGH me.

    Thank you SRT for another inspiring lesson!! Love this Women of the Bible!

  • Hi Tina, I just prayed for you and Bex. I understand how Bex feels, I also had a miscarriage last year, after almost 2 years of waiting to conceive, we thought that it was the answer to what we have been praying for. But God always has His own way.. We lost the pregnancy at 9 weeks. It was a heartbreaking experience, but it was also faith marker for me, for in that moment of despair, God revealed Himself to me in a very much deeper level. I wrote about it in my blog, I just want to share it this morning:
    http://steady-myheart.blogspot.com/2013/01/concei

    I just can't help but cry the whole time I was reading today's devotion. During my prayer, I repeatedly told the Lord that "IF YOU DID IT FOR SARAH, I KNOW YOU CAN ALSO DO IT FOR ME! NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR YOU!"

    I realized that when God want's to show His Glory, He always does it in impossible situations through the people who found "favor" in His sight such as Abraham and Sarah, King David, Job, the nation of Israel and many others! This morning, I just thank the Lord for choosing me to go through a "seemingly" complicated situation in my desire to get pregnant, because I feel that it is a privilege to be chosen as an instrument to show His Glory! Thank you Lord that like Abraham and Sarah, I too, have found favor in Your sight!

    May God's favor be upon us all today! :)

  • Tina, I am praying…the same God that has you has her. The great thing about God is even in unbelief He is still GOD. He is in control and He loves us all even those who do not believe.

    Keep doing what you are doing…listen, be a friend, and when the time is right God will reveal to you what you should do. Yes it may be hard…BUT IS THERE ANYTHING TOO HARD FOR GOD?

  • God is faithful. God is so very good. I know this. I trust this with all my heart. . .
    Today my sisters, i need your help prayers and wisdom. . . I have a friend who last week lost her baby through miscarriage. . She is angry, heart broken, confused, lost. . I might add that she is not a follower of our God. Last night as we spoke through her tears, i could hear pain n beyond what is obvious, then she started to talk about how this life was too painful, she wanted to be with a friend of ours who a couple of years ago committed suicide. . I tried to listen and not say too much. . I wanted to tell her all would be well, that God had control and that he would bless her beyond beyond, but my mouth would not say the words, it was not the right time for such words, things were too raw, i.m sorry to go on, but please might i ask for prayer for my friend Bex, that she feels Goes loving arms around her, that she just rests in the Lord and his words, that she trusts him. . . . I have lost a child, so i know the anguish, the heart ache that comes. . But i also know that the good Lord had my case through my loss in hand. . Please could i also ask for prayer for me to know and say the right things at the right time, to be the friend God has intended of to be. I believe this is not the shiver time to tell one who does not believe, that Our God is good and that he has this. . Its just so hard. . Help. . .
    I.m sorry sorry for the missive. . . Thank you for listening. Tina. X

    • Darla

      Praying for you Tina. Praying will give you the discernment of time and words. Praying for your friend Bex and for her comfort in this time of grief. Keep being her friend. God is in control. Trust. In His Love~Darla

    • Candacejo

      Praying for both of you today…God will give you wisdom. ♥

    • amykelly213

      Praying, Tina!

    • Brandi

      Praying! And please don't apologize, it's our privilege as your sisters in Christ, to share your burden and bring you to the throne of His Grace!

    • LeahTvt

      Praying for you, Tina, and your friend, Bex. You are a good friend and God is using you. He will give you strength and wisdom, in Jesus’ name.

    • Marie

      Praying for you and your friend, Tina.

    • Elizabeth

      Hi Tina, add me to those praying for you and your dear friend. I myself have not been through the heartache of losing a child, but I have a close friend who has had this happen 3 times. The most recent one, I thought surely this is it. I prayed for her, as we were learning about intercessory prayer here on SRT I prayed so hard for her, just knowing this was it… and then it wasn't. I understand knowing that its not always the right time for certain words. I pray that God will use you, that you will sense His working through you to help your friend. And I do pray that, in His infinite wisdom, He is holding just the baby for her.

    • jesusgirl71

      Praying for her. that is so tough! Lord, may this lead her to You somehow.

    • rocknitat55

      Tina I am praying for you right now as I type these words.
      I pray for discernment, I pray for healing, I pray for the wholeness and the
      soul of your friend.
      Continue to cover her with your words & prayers, she will see Christ’s
      Love thru you.
      As one who had 2 miscarriages, and one failed suicide attempt, I can proclaim
      That there is Nothing To Hard For God!

    • Diana

      Father, I pray for Bex. You know the extent of her hurt and you know what she needs to be healed. Please put your loving arms of comfort around her and let her feel your love. Lord I pray for Tina that you would give her wisdom to know what to say and when to to say it. That the words you give her would be anointed by your Holy Spirit and that Bex's heart would be softened to receive what you have for her. I pray against the enemy and the thoughts of suicide that Bex may be contemplating. Father please speak to her heart, let her hear your voice and surrender to the loving arms of Jesus. I ask all this in Jesus name. Amen

      Tina, I believe you are Bex's friend for such a time as this and that God will give you the right words to say and when to say them. Keep being that sweet loving friend.

    • Sue :-)

      Praying Tina, and knowing that He is faitbful to those who mourn. We lift you up to allow His spirit to work thru you. In Jesus name. Amen

    • elizabethlightfoot

      I am praying Tina! My mom just recently had a miscarriage and all of those feelings flooded over her, but through love and support from the people around her those feeling are starting to be pealed away. I assure you that with the love and support from you that your friend will be truly blessed. I am praying for her comfort and healing and that she feels the comforting arms of our fathers love. Love, Ashley <3

Further Reading...