An Author’s View
By Marlene Houk
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Displaying power and directing change, an author creates worlds out of nothing. A little foreshadowing here, a mountain of tension there, protagonists and an antagonist thrown in, but, everywhere, the mystery of the story suggests…
God is the Master and Creator of Storytelling. His stories are infinitely grand, as in the creation of the universe, and yet, incredibly tiny, as in the tiny earthly shell that formed the unborn baby Jesus. And, yet, Bible stories are rich with the sense of an unseen Hand that creates and directs these stories.
Such is the story of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, in the Old Testament book of Genesis, the book of beginnings. Having just finished my Bible Study on Following the Footsteps of Sarah’s Faith, I realized anew from the sermon’s text the following Sunday morning that her path was not of her choosing. God directed her first tiny steps on the cobbled streets of ancient Ur and her last plodding steps before her final days.
Statistically, God underscores her importance by including her in five books of the Bible. He points to her significance for women everywhere as He calls her our spiritual mother and then underscores that by including 19% of all first-mentioned words in her story. Of all the colorful characters in Genesis with their larger-than-life stories, Sarah’s has more first-mentioned words (in the KJV) than any other character. What a subtle yet strong way to underscore 1 Peter 3:6!
Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
Her story feels like Niagara Falls, plummeting to the pits of fear as she is captured, not once, but twice, by a pharaoh and a king, locked into their whims and crushed under their culture. She encounters moments of ultimate shame such as when she realizes who is at fault for their infertility. Her fury turns upon her maid, Hagar, and her anger blazes as she turns on her. And yet, the roar of her joy as she births Isaac years later soars like the plumes of the Falls, spraying everyone down through millennia with God’s power and love. Her fame spreads far and wide as myriads visit her story, observing her journey from feisty fireball to a famous place in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. Every jot and tittle in her story weaves into itself the supreme authority of the One Who wrote it, designed to bring Sarah to a place of greater faith that would influence eternity. Through her came the earthly line of Jesus, Savior of the world. God fulfilled His promise, and her precious little boy, Isaac, became the ancestor of Jesus through King David. What significance her story reveals when seen from the aerial view of eternity and through God’s eyes. Every day that Sarah heard the wail of a newborn within one of the tents in the tribe of Abraham, her heart sighed, looking forward to the day that God would, according to His promise, let her hear her own baby’s cries as he entered the world…to fulfill God’s story within his own life.
As God finished Sarah’s faith, polishing it with His love and grace, and setting it carefully on display for all to stare and wonder, so He carefully and lovingly writes our story, each detail intricately threaded with all the traits of a grand story and yet has one single purpose, to glorify Him!
Rest in this and know that, no matter our failures, triumphs or feelings about them, God writes our story and the plots and twists of our lives are, like Sarah, to ultimately bring glory to Him!