Here’s my devotional published today on Beyond Bath Time‘s blog for Holy 30. Learn more about Holy30 here.
I wonder if Sarah, Abraham’s wife, experienced new devastation at that certain time each month. The new show of blood must have served as monthly evidence that once again, her body had not produced the baby she longed for. For at least one more month, the family line that was to bless the whole world was not yet a reality. And she and Abraham were just two aging people with big unfulfilled dreams.
Now, Sarah had every reason to hope, and every reason to dream. God had promised her a son! He had promised that one day her family members would outnumber the stars sprinkled across a desert sky. And yet, there was a monthly pattern that had been going on for years and years and years, which stood in evidence against the promise.
Just to put Sarah’s devastation into perspective, consider the virgin Mary’s story. What if, after Gabrielle had delivered the promise of her miraculous Son, Mary got her period? I imagine that this would have caused Mary some confusion, disorientation, and even turmoil. Then, suppose after another month with no signs of pregnancy, Mary got her period again. And then again. Suppose twenty-five years went by, and Mary never conceived and bore this child that was to be the Savior of the World. Don’t you think that Mary would have grown weary and burdened by her inability to produce the promised supernatural child?
This was Sarah’s situation. She knew she was chosen by God. She knew that fruit of her womb would one day bless the whole world. But she also knew that every month, she got her period.
This is how I feel, sometimes, about my spiritual growth. I know that I am chosen by God. I know that God has promised that my life will produce the fruit of the Spirit—love, patience, and kindness. But then, on a regular basis (and ironically, it often coincides with a certain time of the month), I do something that evidences my lack of spiritual fruit. I’m hateful, irritable, or selfish. And then, after I blow it, I’m faced once again with the proof that I am still a spiritually barren woman who cannot seem to produce the fruit I’m supposed to bear. At least not yet.
I get so weary of my sin. I loathe my inability to produce spiritual fruit. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will.
But this is where Sarah’s story gives me hope. Because the baby that eventually rounded out her dried up, barren womb came to life by the same power that the fruit of the Spirit will come to life from within me. It’s not something I can produce any more than 90-year-old Sarah could produce a baby. But it is something that God can produce.
Even after twenty-five years of monthly evidence that Sarah was a barren woman, God was no less able to produce a baby in Sarah’s womb than on her honeymoon. And even after twenty-five years of evidence that I lack the goodness, faithfulness, and self-control, God is no less able to produce these things in my life than on the day I first committed my life to Him.
If you’re like me, you haven’t followed through on your Holy30 goals perfectly. Maybe you’re discouraged by the lack of progress you see in yourself, or the evidence that you are not what you hope to be.
Like Sarah, we must put our hope in God. Our confidence is not in ourselves but in God, who both began a good work in us, and who promises to bring the spiritual fruit in our hearts to fully-ripened completion.
Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”