We were plunged into darkness the other evening.
To be brutally honest, I received a call from my ever-loving wife to say that we had no electricity, and that there was a blue slip in the post box from the municipality stating that, since we had not paid our account, they had cut us off.
Not only were a hot bath and hot dinner in jeopardy but, far more serious, we were busy watching Doc Martin, Series 5, with the final episode to go. While we could have watched an episode on the laptop, the DVD was sitting inside the DVD player, which cannot be opened without electricity. Well, it can be opened with a screwdriver or hammer, of course, but I managed to dissuade my lovely wife from such drastic action. I had to tread carefully, mind you, since there was the danger that either implement (or both) could have been used on me, it being my responsibility to pay such accounts.
Candles are very romantic but the romance wears very thin when their use is forced on one. Or, put more correctly, when they are forced on one because of the forgetfulness of another. A friend of mine who is single asked, “Is that really how far love is supposed to go?” Fortunately the question was put to me, rather than to my wife, and I was able to respond with a confident, “Yes, of course.”
We’ve been reading about Sarah and Abraham in our quiet times over the past couple of weeks. Today we read about Sarah’s death and burial at the age of 127. I suspect that her death was more peaceful than her life. Sarah suffered greatly as a result of Abraham’s uncertainty about God’s faithfulness over the years. He put Sarah into grave danger all too easily whenever he felt his own life might be threatened.
“Yes, very beautiful; she’s my sister.”
“Yes, take her by all means.”
Fortunately Sarah wasn’t able to have children during those years, otherwise how many might there have been? But that led to frustration because they were not able to produce the child God had promised them. Did Abraham also nag Sarah about it? We don’t know, but she eventually gave him her servant girl, Hagar, to produce the child of promise. That didn’t exactly lead to a happy family either.
For 25 years God worked with this couple until they finally understood and believed God, and finally trusted him. They even trusted him enough to sacrifice their child of promise.
Don’t think for a moment that I am pointing fingers at Abraham. His faith and his faithfulness, and his willingness to follow wherever God led, were, at their very weakest, on a different planet from mine. But I am greatly encouraged by God’s willingness to work with us, growing our faith, and encouraging our trust; his endless patience with his slow-to-learn children. That is, for me, an essential element of the story of Abraham and Sarah.
Of course, it’s also useful to hint to my beloved how gracious Sarah was, and that she had a lot more to forgive than Abraham forgetting to pay his electricity bill.