I just absolutely love the Lucado family and how they love — how they’ve loved our family. Love how they are real about the daily grind. It’s the biggest assault on Jenna Lucado’s faith. As she picks up scrambled eggs her thirteenth-month-old has thrown on the ground for the 5,122nd time, doubt creeps in. “Really? Jesus came to give us ‘abundant life’? This feels more annoying than abundant.” As she made the same ole grocery store route and buys the same ole brand of cereal and stand in the same ole checkout lines, questions tap on her mind’s door. “Does God really see me? Is He really with me, in this boring, routine moment?” Routine has a way of imprisoning our thoughts to what is in front of us, and we forget about the promises ahead of us. Monotony can weaken faith more than catastrophe. Maybe it’s not the monotony of life but the loneliness of life. Maybe it’s not the routine but a rocky relationship. It could be watching the evening news, challenges at work, the hardships of life that weaken your faith. It’s a grace to welcome the wisdom of Jenna Lucado to the farm’s front porch today…
As I partnered with my dad, Max Lucado, to write Ten Women of the Bible, I quickly discovered, when it comes to faith struggles, that you and I don’t have to look any further than the women in the Bible to see we are far from alone.
Take Sarah, for instance. Love her.
Could sit with her for hours at Starbucks relating to her issues.
She and Abraham walk through marriage tension, a move to a strange place, war, infertility. And though they experience holy revelations, miracles, and dinners with the Trinity, those events do not come as quickly as we read them in Genesis.
Long stretches of waiting and the daily grind test their faith time and again.
“From the time God first called Abraham to his next appearance in Genesis 17, twenty-five years have passed since he first promised to make Abram and Sarai into a great nation.
Abram is now ninety-nine, and Sarai is not much younger. She knits, and he plays solitaire. He has lost his hair. She has lost her teeth. And neither spends a lot of time anymore lusting for the other.
“Twenty-five years. A lot has happened during that time. The couple has overcome scandal in Egypt. Their nephew Lot has been captured and rescued. Then there was that whole Hagar-and-Ishmael ordeal. But still, no son has been born, no promised heir . . .
“Occasionally, I’m sure Abram would think of God’s promise and give Sarai a wink. She’d give him a smile and think, Well, God did promise us a child, didn’t he? And they’d both chuckle at the thought of bouncing a boy on their bony knee.
“God was chuckling too. With the smile still on His face, He began getting busy doing what He does best—the unbelievable.
But first He had to change a few things, beginning with their names. ‘I am changing your name from Abram to Abraham,’ He said, ‘because I am making you a father of many nations. . . . I will change the name of Sarai, your wife, to Sarah. I will bless her and give her a son, and you will be the father’ (Genesis 17:5, 15–16 NCV).
“Abram, the father of one, would now be Abraham, the ‘father of a multitude.’ Sarai, the barren one, would now be Sarah, the “mother of nations.”
It was another assurance from God that the promise would be fulfilled. Somehow, the couple chose to believe it and never give in to doubt.”
How did they not give in to doubt?
How does Sarah maintain faith during the scary times, the hard times, even those dreaded, routine, in-between times?
Well, let’s look at a few things her faith was not —
First, Sarah’s faith was not perfect.
At one point, she tells her husband to sleep with her maid to rush God’s plans.
Ever choose your plans over God’s?
You aren’t alone. Sarah, the mother of nations, of God’s people Israel, blazed her own trail too.
Second, her faith was not without doubts or questions.
“After I am worn out and old, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?” Sarah chuckles (Genesis 18:12 ESV).
Ever question or doubt God? You are in good company.
Along with Sarah, Mary from Bethany asks, “Lord, if you had been here . . .” (John 11:21 ESV).
The Samaritan woman questions, “You have nothing to draw with . . .” (John 4:11 ESV).
Esther doubts, “But . . . I have not been called to come in to the king . . .” (Esther 4:11 ESV).
And finally, Sarah’s faith was not based on her own strength.
Her faith, my faith, your faith cannot be self-mustered or forced. It is a gift from God “so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:9 ESV). Ever feel as though you are gritting her teeth, pulling up your bootstraps, doing whatever it takes to squeeze a little faith out?
Then let’s remember it was God who called Sarah.
It was God who gave her the faith she needed.
Her only job? Receive it.
“By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised” (Hebrews 11:11 ESV).
Her only job? Receive it.
Whether it is a Starbucks date with a teen girl, a book she has written, a simple text to a friend, or her speaking career, Jenna Lucado is always looking for a chance to share God’s love with God’s daughters. She is the author of Redefining Beautiful—What God Sees When God Sees You; From Blah to Awe: Shaking up a Boring Faith; and her latest Bible study, Love Is…
If your faith is weakening because of dark days, confusing days, or even drowning-in-dull-routine days, then take a second. Pause. Pause to consider Him. Consider the Faithful One. He’s called you, chosen you. He’s proven faithful in your past and will prove faithful in your future. He gave you faith and will give you more. All you have to do is ask. And when you ask, get ready! He will graciously give you the faith to continuously consider Him faithful even after twenty-five years of waiting, like our friend Sarah. In Ten Women of the Bible, a 10-session workbook, Max Lucado tells some of his favorite accounts of these ten women—Sarah, Abigail, Esther, the Samaritan Woman, Mary Magdalene, and others—and describes what set them all apart. Ten Women of the Bible is absolutely five star and ideal for both individual use and for study in a small-group setting.
[ Our humble thanks to Thomas Nelson for their partnership in today’s devotion ]