My grandfather always said, "They can take everything from you, but they can not take your hope." He was a man of so much hope. I learned hope from him, and from the myths, the stories, and the legends that surround his life at our family gatherings. You always dreamed big dreams on his lap. His 40 acres is a sacred place to me. I remember sitting in his lap with the milk and honey dripping from my lips (OK it was actually the juice of fresh picked peaches) and him listening, so preciously and so intently to the fantasies and dreams I rambled on about. You could hope, dream, and wish for anything when you were on his lap, on his land, in the prescence of his hope.
Our world is not like my grandfather's 40 acres. Our world is a place of brokeness, shattered dreams, and hopelessness. Yet God's story, our story, is a story of children who were born out of hopelessness. A story of the miracle of hope in a hopeless place.
The story of Sarah is a hopeless story. The story of Sarah is the last dreams of a broken woman. Weary and worried, she had lived a long life. A life filled with pain and disappointment as she was unable to concieve a son for her husband. Sarah had been a good wife. She had followed her husband from home to live as an alien in Cannan. She had mourned with him as Sodom burned. She had given her maid servant so that he could have an heir. But she had lived the defeat of never giving him a son, by his own wife, to fulfill the promise he had built his hope.
Long after we are dead and gone
A thousand years our tale be sung
How faith compelled and bore us on
How barren Sarah bore a son
So come to Canaan, come
Where westward sails the golden sun
And Hebron's hills are amber crowned
Oh, Sarah, take me by my arm
Tomorrow we are Canaan bound
The story of God never ends in hopelessness. God's pursuit of his people never ends in their hopeless broken place. God is the God of hope. God's lap is the place where the miracle of hope is realized. It is the Lord's presence that makes his land sacred. It is the hope of his promises that Sarah learned as an alien in Canaan. It is the Miracle of the child that bridges the river between a woman's hopelessness and God's hope.