In Genesis 15 when the Lord revealed to Abraham he was going to be a father and his offspring would become as numerous as the stars he could see, the Lord kept secret the fact that Sarah would be the mother. For whatever reason it was His secret - for the time being.
In the next chapter not knowing God's secret that Sarah would miraculously be the mother, Abraham and Sarah try to figure out how they can 'help' God's promise come to pass: He said Abraham would be the father. It was past the time of life for Sarah to conceive, so clearly they reasoned, they needed a surrogate mother to make a baby with Abraham. (Genesis 16:1-3)
We can help God; Let's make a baby!
Abraham submits to Sarah's request for him to make a baby with Hagar, which resulted in Ishmael the father of the Arab people.
But in the next two chapters, 17 & 18, the Lord appears again and tells them that Sarah will indeed be the mother of the son of promise. He will bless and multiply Ishmael, but the promise is with Isaac. To this revelation they both laughed, resulting in the Lord naming the son Isaac, which means 'laughter'. (Genesis 17: 15-19; 18: 10-15)
Somewhere between the time of them laughing at the Lord, and Isaac's conception, Abraham and Sarah had a change of heart. They made a judgement of God. Hebrews 11: 11 tells us of Sarah: "Through faith Sarah received strength (ability) to conceive and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised." Of Abraham: "...he was fully persuaded that what He had promised, He would do." Romans 4: 21
We don't know why God originally kept secret from Abraham and Sarah that Sarah would be the mother of the son of promise. There is no chapter and verse in which God explains Himself. We can generally say it served His higher purpose, but in truth, we are ignorant as to all His reasons for keeping that a secret until after Ishmael was born. We can speculate, but we don't know why.
God is God - but can we trust Him?
He is God after all. He answers to no one. And that is what is hard to accept. We want to know all the answers. Now.
At some point we each judge God. We of faith are like Sarah and judge Him faithful. We transition over time from questions and anger at events unexplained, to trust that all the answers will be there on the other side.
We who know Him can generally work through these tragedies and unanswered questions over time, even years and decades because we know Him, and trust He will one day make it right. But arriving at trust is often a long process.
We may struggle all our lives with unanswered questions - and that is okay, it is normal.
Each of us, often several times in a day on less significant things, make judgements of God that He is faithful.
We may think to ourselves of a cruel co-worker, "He will get his in the end". We may pray, "Lord I forgive them, but I still want you to hold them accountable." We may have questions why someone did something that has changed our life dramatically, or why something happened that also changed our lives, and we shrug our shoulders and say, "One day we'll know."
All those and countless other expressions which express grudging acceptance of something we have no answer for, are judgments on God like Sarah made: He is faithful Who promised. He must be faithful. It is the only way to get through life, to believe, to trust the integrity of His character and nature to make all things right in the end. As one told me: "Heaven had better be really, really, good because I've sure been through hell on earth."
Don't focus on the secret you'll never find the answer to this side of heaven: Focus on what you DO know
When Jesus started speaking parables how He is the true manna from heaven and people had to eat His flesh and drinking His blood in John 6, those were hard to understand.
Many disciples stopped following Him. At one point He turned to the 12 and asked, "Are you too going to leave?"
Peter had seen all the Lord had done in terms of miracles and healings. He had seen the multiplication of bread and fish, and had heard all the teachings. If making a mental list of 'good things', those would be in that column.
But in the other column was Jesus talking about how He was the true manna and how people had to eat His body and drink His blood to have eternal life, and with many people they knew walking away, there was peer pressure to also leave: The pressure of being associated with that weird teacher.
Peter thought through both the understood and the confusing. He finally boiled it down to the essential core: "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." (John 6: 50-68)
At some point Peter judged God as Sarah had, as you and I must do. When life confuses us as Jesus' parable did above, we must cut through the confusion to what we DO know: You have the words of enteral life.
Every time we don't know the answer, every time God keeps a secret from us to be revealed later, we must make the same judgment on Him that Sarah did, that Peter did: "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." Focus on what you DO know, not what you don't. Be thankful for what you know. Let the rest go until heaven.
Closing it out next week, until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at email@example.com