I have had the “pleasure” of walking alongside friends who have struggled with infertility. Some eventually chose to adopt children from abroad who needed homes, while others did rounds upon rounds of Clomid and/or IVF before they were able to conceive a child. It is a horrible struggle to watch and I am always so overjoyed when they step off the plane with their child in the case of adoption, or when their child is finally born following a carefully supervised pregnancy. These kids literally are the answers to prayer.
In our reading from Genesis, the Lord does the literally impossible task of bringing about a biological heir from Abraham and Sarah who were old and considered to be infertile. (Don’t worry, I am not forgetting Ishmael, the product of Abraham and Hagar, and the sad story of Sarah’s jealousy leading Hagar to be sent away into the desert.) The Lord had promised that Abraham’s descendants would be “exceedingly numerous”, and that promise has endured.
That promise is so central to the faith traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that Abraham has a place in all three faiths, and the story is referenced multiple times in both the Old and New Testaments. The message is not only that God can do things that we consider impossible, but also that God keeps promises. What an amazing thing upon which we can base our hope!
Thank you, Lord, for keeping your promise to Abraham and showing us that You will keep Your promises to us. Amen.