I stomp the snow off my boots and ease into a booth at Harvest Café, gingerly sliding across the bench. My muscles scream at me after a weekend of shoveling snow. I rub my thighs in an effort to soothe the ache while being reminded of spring and the pain I go through when gardening. The hurt is worth the beauty of blossoms and veggies growing from beneath the ground. Waiting for my garden to grow is the hard part. We always need everything right now.
Why aren’t we satisfied to live in the moment?
Pulling out my notebook and pen, I concentrate on the task at hand—interviewing the wife of a Patriarch. Abraham’s Sarah.
A woman who knew the meaning of the word wait.
The side door of the café opens and an elderly woman shuffles in. She’s hunched over slightly but straightens herself once she pushes her covering further back on her forehead, revealing her identity.
Her crippling body masks the youth of her face. The vibrancy in her velvet brown eyes sparkles in the sun beaming through the window. A snow-white curl escapes her head dressing and bounces forward.
I rise to meet the beautiful mother of Israel.
“Sarah?” I extend my hand. “I’m Darlene.”
Her smile widens as she accepts my gesture, shaking firmly. “So nice to meet you, dear.”
“Let’s sit in the corner.” I motion to the spot I chose. “More privacy.”
She nods and slips into the booth.
I remove my recording device. “I like to tape my interviews. Are you okay with that?”
“Of course. Where would you like to start?”
I press play. “I have to admit. You’re not at all what I expected?”
She threw her head back and laughed. “I get that a lot. Let me guess. You thought I’d be old and decrepit. Grumpy perhaps?”
My readings in Genesis earlier in the week come to mind and I avoid her gaze, fiddling with my pen.
She puts her hand on top of mine. “It’s okay. I was that person, but ever since my Isaac came along, God restored my laughter and gave me joy.”
I glance at her eyes. Sad but peaceful. Was that possible? Yes. I check my first question. “You had everything. Wealth and prestige. And then Abraham asked you to give it up and move with him. How did you do it?”
“Kicking and screaming.”
“I won’t lie. It was hard and I’m ashamed to admit, I loved my life. I didn’t have to lift a finger. Now all of a sudden I was traveling with a bunch of people and stinky animals. It was awful!” She wrinkles her nose. “But I loved Abraham too much not to go.”
“That’s commendable. Today, a lot of women wouldn’t do what you did. I have to know. Abraham told Pharaoh you were his sister. Why did you agree to the charade?”
“My devotion outweighed my dignity. Plus, I feared if I didn’t, we’d both die. It was tricky times back then.”
“You are selfless.”
“Hardly. God gave me the strength even when I didn’t trust Him.”
The waitress approaches to take our order. We both choose hot chocolate to warm us up on a cold day. I turn the page trying to decide which question to ask next just as three teenagers bolt through the door, interrupting all the patrons. Their boisterous voices raise above other conversations in the small café.
Sarah’s eyes darken for a fleeting moment.
What is she thinking? Dare I ask?
I return her earlier gesture and put my hand on hers. “Are you okay?”
“Yes. I was reminded of the times I reprimanded Ishmael for being too loud. Seems teenagers haven’t changed.”
“Not all are the same, but yes, I’m afraid not.” Her words bring me to one of my questions. “After you found out Hagar was pregnant you didn’t treat her well. Do you regret this?”
“Hagar’s attitude toward me changed and I still don’t know why. I do regret some things I did, but I know God has forgiven me. It was all part of His perfect plan.”
There’s that again. God’s plan. Not just any plan.
His perfect plan. I’ve been hearing that a lot lately.
I get it, Lord. Thanks for your gentle reminders.
I look at the heart of my questions. The biggie. The one I’ve been waiting to hear her answer to.
I take a breath and exhale. “Did you know in your heart you would carry a baby or had you given up on your dream?”
She smiles, eyes widening. “I had grown old. My womb had closed, so yes, I had given up. Who wouldn’t?”
The waitress returns with our drinks.
Sarah takes a sip, looking into her mug as if gathering her thoughts on how much she wants to share. When she glances up, her eyes glisten with tears. “My heart’s desire was to feel a child growing inside me. To feel him move, kicking me robustly. To hold him in my arms. To smother him with kisses. When I turned 90, I knew God’s answer to my dream was no. It was gut-wrenching to accept that.”
“But then you overheard the men tell Abraham you would conceive and have a son.”
“Yes! And I laughed. I didn’t believe them. Who would? How ridiculous. How could someone so old become pregnant?”
I sip my hot chocolate, studying her face. It radiates joy.
“My wait was finally over. The Lord opened my womb and fulfilled my dream even more than I first imagined. I bore my precious Isaac and when I held him in my arms, I burst with laughter.”
“So, the wait was worth it?”
“Absolutely!” Her melodic voice ripples in our corner of the café, others glancing in our direction. She smiles back, meeting their gaze clearly not embarrassed by her outburst.
I digest her words and think of everything I’ve been waiting for lately. Seems like the waiting is endless. Our society lives in an immediate day and age. We need everything NOW.
However, it doesn’t work that way. Things take time. Waiting is hard, but God’s plan is always perfect.
Did Sarah give up too easily?
I can’t answer that. She waited a long time.
And was rewarded.
Can we do the same?
What dream are you waiting for? Are you struggling? Share with us.
Psalm 27:14 (NIV)
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.