Read: Genesis 16:1-5

Behold now, the Lord has prevented me from bearing children. (v. 2)

Often, when we get to this part of the story, we talk about Sarai’s lack of faith. She becomes a cautionary tale warning people against not trusting God’s timing. However, I think she deserves a bit more credit. She had lived in the wilderness for many years. Not only had she wandered through the desert for decades, but she also experienced the personal wilderness (and deep sorrow) of infertility.

After so much fruitless waiting and wandering, it should not surprise us that she started to question. After all, it was her own infertility that stood in the way of her husband’s God-given promise. Perhaps she began to internalize this reality, feeling as though it was her fault. Perhaps she imagined that she needed to remove herself from the picture in order to allow God’s promise to transpire. She was a woman in an impossible situation—it was impossible for her to provide what God had promised her husband. Sarai, put in this difficult position, made a difficult decision.

How must it have felt for Sarai, then, to offer her maidservant to her husband? After Hagar became pregnant so easily, after all Sarai’s years of trying? Even in the midst of this difficult situation where peace seemed so impossible to find, God was there. As we will see, God acts on behalf of both Hagar and Sarai in significant ways. Neither had been forgotten. —Amy Curran

As you pray, ask God to help you recognize his presence with you in your own impossible situations.