Friday, November 16, 2007

Sarah's fault

As I studied this week's Bible lesson, I was a bit surprised to see the story of Abraham and Sarah. I read the passages about Abraham and Sarah, 85 & 75 years old, on their way to the Promised Land. Abraham does not seem to have had second thoughts about obeying God's direction to do so. But he is not as confident that they would have any children. Have you ever had to wait a long time for something you believe God will grant you to show up? Has it ever seemed like that window of opportunity had closed? Surely Sarah's ability to have children seemed unfruitful. One way was possible. If Sarah held her servant while she bore the Master a child, Sarah could claim it as her own. She presents this idea to her husband, they promote Hagar to second wife and the desired child, Ishmael, is born. But their lack of faith in God's promise led to very unhappy consequences. Has that ever been the case for you?

We pray and pray, asking God for something, feeling like He is going to grant it, and then run out of patience waiting for it. We have outlined how this thing will happen, what avenue, what person, what event. When it doesn't appear in that form, we take matters into our own hands. The result rarely satisfies.

In this story the real issue is in a false sense of man as the creator. The expected child is God's idea, already formed in Mind, perfect and complete, with a unique place in the divine plan. 13 years after Ishmael's birth, God reminds Abraham of the original promise and a child comes to them who is Isaac. The promise was kept in God's own time and way.

I often use the definiton of patience - expecting good calmly - when giving Christian Science treatments. The process of refining gold is also mentioned in this section of the lesson. Great heat is applied to the raw gold causing the dross to rise to the surface and disappear. It can be quite a show of sparks. You may have encountered something like that when you are working out a problem. Right in the midst of prayer, the situation seems to accelerate, get worse. But it could just be this process of seeing the impurities and worthless or trivial thoughts being removed to leave behind the pure gold, precious metal. Mrs. Eddy tells us the result of this is 'enlarged individuality, a wider sphere of thought and action, a more expansive love, a higher and more permanent peace'. Good rewards. Worthy of a little patience.

Go in peace.

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