Second Sunday of Advent


December 10, 2023 Doubting God’s Goodness: The Stable’s Longstanding Promise

The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old? Is anything too hard for the Lord?’” (Genesis 18:13-14).

A dramatic moment in the history of salvation occurred when Abraham’s wife Sarah laughed in response to the news that she would experience childbirth and become a mother. Well past menopause, Sarah doubted God’s goodness.

Sarah is not alone. Most of us have life experiences that cause us to have spiritual doubts.

If we find the story of Sarah’s conception astonishing, then how much more astonishing is the story of the birth of Jesus? What happened to Sarah was improbable. What happened to Mary was truly impossible—something only God the Holy Spirit could do. A virgin did conceive and bear a son, as Isaiah prophesied (Isaiah 7:14).

The angel in Sarah’s story raised an important rhetorical question: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14).

The angel in Mary’s story emphatically answers: “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Shortly thereafter, the Christ Child was born in the stable as the visible, tangible fulfillment of this astonishing promise.

The story of the stable can help us overcome our own doubts concerning God’s faithfulness as we, like Sarah and Mary, are reminded how much is possible for God when we venture out in faith and trust him to keep his promises along the way.

Reflection: What promises has God fulfilled for you? What promises as yet remain unfulfilled?

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