Summary: Sarah Laughed in unbelief, but God transformed her unbelief, changing her laughter to the expression of joy. God longs to transform the one who is honest before Him.

“[The angels charged with the destruction of Sodom] said to [Abraham], ‘Where is Sarah your wife?’ And he said, ‘She is in the tent.’ The LORD said, ‘I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent door behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in years. The way of women had ceased to be with Sarah. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I am worn out, and my lord is old, shall I have pleasure?’ 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? At the appointed time I will return to you about this time next year, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied it, saying, ‘I did not laugh,’ for she was afraid. He said, ‘No, but you did laugh.’” [1], [2]

Watching my wife shower loving care on our great grandchild is fascinating. Watching her, I realise that a mother never ceases to be a mother. In the normal course of life, becoming a mother exposes something that has lain hidden in a woman—I’ll call it the “mother gene.” Being a grandmother only intensifies the exposure of the “mother gene.” I believe that that gene becomes even more pronounced when a great grandchild enters the picture. Oh, I know that our ladies are only too glad to return the grandchild to the much younger mother, or to return the great grandchild to the very much younger mother, but the “mother gene” is definitely there.

Our study today will focus our attention on an accidental mother. This woman was old enough to have been a great-great-grandmother, but God had other plans for her. However the story might have been framed, it is abundantly evident that Sarah didn’t plan to become pregnant—in fact, Sarah had no hope of becoming pregnant! You see, Sarah was an old woman—I mean menopause was far behind and in the rear-view mirror. The text notes that “the way of women had ceased to be with Sarah.” The NET Bible, updating the language, states, “Sarah had long since passed menopause.” If her age wasn’t enough to disqualify her from being a mother, her husband was even older than she was! Candidly, there was not a chance that Sarah could bear a child. And yet…

Among the most difficult sermons I am called to deliver are those to be delivered on Mother’s Day. Some may consider me emotionally crippled because of glaring deficits from my childhood. Certainly, it was difficult to grow to manhood without the presence of a mother, but I rejoice in the love which my father lavished on me. You whose mothers are still living are no doubt remembering the loving sacrifice and patience you experienced in your childhood years. Those whose mothers have crossed over to that fairer home, no doubt still recall tender scenes of home, and the sweet memories of loving mothers will no doubt cause great rejoicing as they reflect on their heritage. I have no such sweet memories of mother and home, but I do have warm memories of my grandmother who in later years frequently said: “I had to love Mike; no one else would.”

For all that, I am glad that we have a day of recognition for the mothers of our nation. The day has come to hold sweet connotations for me as I focus my attention on the wife God has provided me—the mother of my children. I have frequently made much of Mother’s Day for her sake. Some might suggest that I have made too much fuss about the day, perhaps it was because I had no one else on whom I might focus attention on that day. Therefore, from a day which left me confused and hurt, the holiday has grown into a day of true celebration of the treasure God placed within my home to enrich my life.

I realise that in many homes today, however, there remains an underlying current of grief. Though outwardly those couples smile and provide an illusion of gaiety, inwardly they grieve because there are no children to grace the home. Nor is this absence necessarily by their choice. Often, the couple longs for a child to grace their home. Nevertheless, for some unexplained reason, God has withheld children from that home and the wife is ever so aware of her condition which gives her deep sorrow.

In a former congregation I pastored, within the membership was a dearly loved family who longed for a child. This couple was then approaching the age when it was a biological impossibility to have a child and they were heartbroken. They never said a word in public about their sorrow, but in private, they often spoke of their confusion and their grief. I learned something of the trauma of a childless home from that dear couple.

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