Abraham is 100, Sarah 90. Years into their journey to the Promised Land, they are still living in a tent, still have no son, and are still chasing the seemingly far-fetched promises of God. Sarah has become disillusioned so God pays them a personal visit in Genesis 18 to announce that she would soon bear a son. Sarah “laughs” in her heart and thinks, “after I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And yep, that means exactly what you’re thinking.
In response to her laughter, God Himself poses this question, “Is there anything too difficult for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14 NASB). Literally in the Hebrew, “Is there anything too pala for Yahweh?” (‘marvelous, amazing, wonderful’ – to get a true sense of the word, see how “pala” is used in verses like Psalm 107:8, Psalm 119:18, Isaiah 29:14, Job 5:9, Psalm 86:10, and Psalm 139:14). But God had them right where He wanted them – “no way” – “that’s impossible!” Now, He will give birth to an entire nation from a dead womb.
What about you? Ever laugh in unbelief at the promise or ability of God? Sure we have…maybe not out loud, but we’ve doubted, we’ve scoffed, and we’ve done it our way. Some of us are fearful of boxing God in so as to demand a miracle, but many more turn away in doubt without even asking.
Most of us are so capable, so blessed, and/or so self-sufficient we do not depend on the pala’s of God. We live in the realm of reasonable possibilities. Our faith is constricted by our vision of and dependence on God and we have prayers to match. But it was not always so.
As a one or two year-old, we were never concerned if dad was able, we just believed he could and asked. We thought he could do anything and he did: protection, power, authority, ability, knowledge…he had it all. Too heavy for me, but not for him. Too high for me to reach, but not for him. We asked because we weren’t able. Little did we know that we were asking these “miracles” from a limited, imperfect father…even so, we did it with all our hearts.
The other day I was with my 1½ year-old grandson, Noah, when a dog started to jump up on him and I firmly said, “Sit!” With just one word, this wild beast obeyed my command. Seriously, what do you think that taught Noah about my power and authority?
So what about our Heavenly Father? A Father who said, “Let there be,” “Be still,” “Be healed,” “Be forgiven,” “Be cleansed.” The same One who conquered death, has the power to save, and sovereignly reigns over all.
Now, we know a perfect Father who has no limitations. We’re all grown up and far more capable, but with far less faith. Maybe a part of us should never grow up? Maybe that’s why Jesus often hung out with children? Maybe they have as much to teach us as we do them?
Is your Father calling you to believe again in the pala’s of God just like He did Abraham and Sarah? As it was for them (see Hebrews 11:11 and Romans 4:19-21), could this be a turning point in your faith?
What do you need the Lord to do for you? While I’m not promising God will always give you what you want (we knew what was best for our kids), maybe we “have not because we ask not” (James 4:3 NASB). Is He calling you to remember what it was like to simply reach up in childlike faith and ask of your father?
“Is there anything too marvelous, too amazing, too wonderful, too pala for the Lord?”