Have you ever noticed that the heroines of some of our favorite books often have glaring faults? Though they are endearing and good at heart, they might be stubborn, have a short temper, or act impulsively.
Think of Laura in Little House on the Prairie, Anne in Anne of Green Gables, or Jo in Little Women. None of them are what we’d consider “perfect,” yet we enjoy reading their stories. Maybe, in one way or another, we see a little bit of ourselves in their imperfections.
We can all identify with flawed characters. God included flawed women in the Bible, and Sarah was one of them.
When we study Sarah’s life, we don’t have to look far to find a shortcoming – one that many of us probably share. Reading the account of Sarah’s life in Genesis, we see her struggling with her faith. Can you relate? I can! Yet Sarah is listed with the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11.
So in spite of how she failed – and how I’ve failed in my faith, too – I can learn a few lessons from her.
1. It’s easy to doubt God when I focus on the circumstances instead of on His promises. In Genesis 18:9-15, we read how Sarah laughed when, standing just inside the tent door, she heard the Lord say that she would have a baby. Her immediate thought (and a very logical one) was that the promise she’d just heard couldn’t be fulfilled because of her age. Sarah’s first reaction wasn’t faith, but doubt. Yet God’s response was to remind her that with Him, nothing is impossible. We know that God is able to keep any promise that He makes, no matter how the situation looks to us.
2. Trying to work out God’s plan in my own way never ends well. Here’s where Sarah reminds me of myself at times. She knew that God’s plan was to give Abraham a child. Sarah, though, got tired of waiting for God’s plan to develop, and in Genesis 16:1-6, she took matters into her own hands. She figured out a way for Abraham to have a son. Sarah thought she knew best. But we know how this story ends, with Isaac’s and Ishmael’s descendants still at odds today. Surely there’s a reason there are so many verses in the Bible about waiting on God! When I’m tempted to step ahead of His plan, may I remember what happened with Sarah.
3. It’s the character of the God in Whom I put my faith that’s key. Hebrews 11:11 says,
“Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.“
Sarah counted Him faithful. She took God at His Word. Faith is not about my working up trust in God inside of myself. It’s about the never-failing God in whom I put my trust, and His Holy Spirit giving me the ability to believe what God says in His Word.
4. Faith won’t always make sense to me. Actually, it wouldn’t be faith if I could make sense of it all, would it? I doubt that all those years of waiting made sense to Sarah. Surely she wondered why a son for Abraham couldn’t have come earlier in their lives. Yet God gave her “strength to receive seed” late in life, after the point where it even seemed possible. We may never understand what God is doing – especially when we don’t see any evidence of His working at all – but He is always in control.
5. Faith leads to God’s blessing. In the end, Sarah gave Abraham a son, in God’s time.
“And Sarah said, ‘God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.’ And she said, ‘Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.'” ~Genesis 21:6-7
What pleasure Sarah must have had in mothering Isaac! Yet the blessings continued well beyond her lifetime. Through the line of Abraham and Sarah’s son, we have all been blessed. The seed that God promised Adam in the Garden of Eden, His Son Jesus, came to earth to win our salvation.
I’m thankful that I have Sarah’s example to encourage me in my own faith. Though doubt will win at times, may I, too, grow in my faith as I judge my God faithful!
Earlier posts in this series:
What Hannah Teaches Me About Prayer
What Mary Teaches Me About Worship
What Ruth Teaches Me About Trusting God
What Mary Teaches Me About Praising God
What Eve Teaches Me About Doubting God
I love to write and read about the women of the Bible! You bring up some very important lessons we can learn from these women! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks, Patty! Have a great Monday!!
How interesting that you wrote about Sarah today! I’m reading a fictionalized account of her life, Sarai by Jill Eileen Smith, and it’s interesting to read how she might have felt day after day, month after month, about not having the child that God promised her husband. And how she felt about leaving Ur to travel she didn’t know where.
As for our favorite characters being flawed, I’ve read a couple of books with perfect or almost perfect characters, and I didn’t like them at all. I guess it’s not any fun to read about perfect people who never make mistakes because we can’t relate. 😉
Will you be reviewing that book about Sarai on your blog? I haven’t read any fictionalized Bible character books since the one about Miriam, but I really liked that one, so need to find another one to try.
I’ve also read a few books with “too-good-to-be-true” characters, and I didn’t find them interesting, either! 😉
Yes, I’ll have a quick review of Sarai on my blog, but I’m not actually reviewing it for anyone. I bought it to read on my kindle while I jog, so if it’s good and you’re interested, I’d be glad to lend it to you. It’s fairly good so far.
By the way, have you gotten a copy of The Magnolia Story yet? I have it on my kindle and would be glad to lend it to you, if you like. 🙂
I actually have The Magnolia Story on hold at my library so should have it to read in a few days. However, I’d love to borrow the book about Sarai! I haven’t done the kindle lending before, so just let me know what I need to do on my end. Thanks!!
I haven’t done it, either, but I don’t think it’s difficult. I think I just need your email address, the one that’s linked to your kindle. Is it the one I already have? I think you have two weeks to read the book, so I won’t lend it to you until you’re ready. I would hate for the book to revert back to me before you finish it. 🙂
I sometimes find myself thinking that the people whose lives are documented in the Bible were perfect, at least in their faith and their trust in God. But, as you so aptly point out in your posts, they were flesh and blood with real problems and doubts and fears just like us. Thank you for pointing out how we are just like they were – real and in need of a Savior and a loving God!
Yes, I think I sometimes gloss over the faults of Bible characters and see only their strengths. So glad God showed us their weaknesses as well, so we could realize that He used them in spite of their flaws – and is able to do the same with us, as we walk with Him.
Brandi Raae says
So thankful that God can use me in spite of my flaws! Thanks for encouraging words about faith – I’d love for you to share with my readers at the Literacy Musing Mondays link-up. 🙂 http://www.brandiraae.com/literacy-musing-mondays-february-20-25/
Thanks and have a blessed week.
Thanks for stopping by the blog and taking time to comment! I’d be happy to link-up at your site; thanks for the invite!!
Nice to meet you and your blog 🙂
I love that God chose flawed women, it gives me more hope! I enjoyed reading through your 5 lessons too.
Thanks so much for stopping by the blog and taking time to comment! Have a great day!!
Nicki Schroeder says
Love this tribute to a flawed heroine, Tracey! And love that you keep pointing us back to keeping our eyes on Jesus, not our circumstances! Great reminders to truly remain in God’s Word and trust His promises, even when the rest of the world doesn’t make sense, we can always rely upon The One who never changes.
Thank you for your kind, encouraging words, and for taking the time to comment! May God grant us the grace to continue walking in faith with Him!!
Brandi Raae says
So glad you joined us at Literacy Musing Mondays! Hope to see you tomorrow. 🙂
Selvarajah D. Ezra says
Thanks for the ‘what Sarah teaches me about faith’.
Enjoyed reading it.
Now I’ve learnt to trust the Lord.
Glad you were able to learn something from the post! Thanks for taking the time to comment.