Saturday, May 2, 2009

"Sarah Have I Loved"

There are countless books out there on "how to be a good wife." I'm guilty of grabbing as many books as I can get my hands on, in search of "The Answer" to this question and the litany of other questions I have concerning being a wife. But God has been reminding me lately (in really subtle ways) that the answers are in HIS book alone.

Just yesterday I was wrestling silently with fully supporting my husband on a certain issue, and when I read my bible, I happened to be in Genesis, reading about Abraham and Sarah.

I like Sarah. She messed up a few times, no doubt, but over all, she was a "Stand By Your Man" kind of woman. In chapter 21 right after she birthed Isaac (who, you may recall, was a medical mystery), she spoke about the miracle that had been given to her. Her words surprised me...not the actual words, but her heart behind the words.

"And she said, 'Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age'" (Genesis 21:7 ESV).

Sarah could have gone on and on, relishing in the fact that she now would have a tiny person to snuggle against her bosom, someone to call her "mommy", someone to depend on her every move...she would now have purpose.

But she didn't.

She instead focused on her husband and how this affected him. Now HE would have purpose and be the father of many nations. She didn't focus on her own old age but on Abraham's.

Later on in chapter 23, the fruit of her obedience and love toward her husband blossomed to its fullest. Sarah died. The scripture doesn't tell us how she died--I assume just from old age--nor does it tell us the details of her final moments. What it does tell us, though, goes much deeper than the event itself.

"...and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her" (Genesis 23:2b ESV).

For whatever reason God saw fit, the story directly before Sarah's death--that of Abraham being tested to sacrifice Isaac--there is no mention at all of Abraham's emotions toward losing his son. Now, I'm not suggesting that he felt no sadness at the prospect of Isaac's death, but the bible does not record any such emotion.

But it does so very clearly in this one.

Abraham immediately began searching for a place to bury his wife...and it could not be just any ol' place. No, it had to be perfect. He decided on a cave that he knew of, but there was one problem: It didn't belong to him. He spoke to Ephron, who owned the land, and asked him to sell the cave of Machpelah to him so that he could give his wife a place of rest. Ephron sought to honor Abraham and give the cave to him as a gift. For free. No cost.

But Abraham refused.

And he refused again and again...until Ephron finally conceded and accepted the silver as payment from Abraham.

See, Abraham wasn't just burying anyone; he was burying his wife. This woman had been his best friend and close companion for years. Together, they had longed and dreamed of having a family, yet year after year passed without such a blessing. But finally one day, together they rejoiced in the birth of Isaac, and (you'll recall) Sarah counted it as a blessing even more so to her husband than to herself. Because she was a selfless wife. She did not do him harm, but she did him good...all the days of her life.

And it shows in his tears, in his persistence on paying for the place he would lay his bride to rest. No cheap plot would, she was worth much more than that.

I want to be that kind of wife for my husband. I want to bring him good, not harm...all the days of my life.

I want to be his Sarah.

Peace of Christ to you,