“The way a book is read — which is to say, the qualities a reader brings to a book — can have as much to do with its worth as anything the author puts into it…. Anyone who can read can learn how to read deeply and thus live more fully.”
~Norman Cousins

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I read from my scriptures (book), but you can find scripture reference here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Return... the time of life Gen 18:14

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

This is a simply question asked by the Lord to Abraham. If he were to ask it of you what would you say?
The Lord answers his own question in Luke 1:37 . " For with God nothing shall be impossible."

I have lived long enough now to see the Lord's miracles in my life. I have seen prayers answered. I have felt the whisper of the Spirit's breath upon my ear. I have known things about my own life, my children's lives that only a mother with an ear upon the winds of heaven could hear. And then there have been times when I have not heard. Times when I have not understood and I have known what it feels like to be lost. I prefer to have the Lord and his miracles. With the Lord I am never alone and time has not place. The Lord is the ruler of all time. This I know to be true.

My most precious memories have come when I have held to the Lord's promise, "for with God nothing shall be impossible." As I considered Sara and her situation I marveled at not only what the Lord did for Sara and Abraham but the lesson he wishes to teach each of us.

In Sunday School a week past, we studied in 2 Nephi 32. We talked about how the Lord will do nothing except he will reveal it through his prophets. We talked about what the prophets purpose is: to testify of Jesus Christ and his divine mission in life. Why? Why testify about Christ? Why worry. If he is to come, won't he come? Jesus Christ is the reason for the joy of all of our life. The prophets soul purpose is help us remember his divine mission.

Why testify? Because as humans we tend to forget. Didn't the Israelites forget about baptism and God have to remind them through the covenant of circumcision? Didn't they forget again while wondering in the wilderness? Don't we easily forget? As I listened this week to a favorite hymn I was reminded of how easily we forget. "Take my heart Lord, take and seal it, seal it for the courts above." I don't want to forget, but I do. Was Sara prone to forget the Lord?

Sara was not going to forget this lesson of faith. She was near ninety years of age, well past her child bearing years and possibly had thought that her blessings promised to her were misconstrued, misinterpreted or not meant for this life time. Her season had come and gone and "It ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women." (v.11) She was "Old and stricken in age," and said herself, "I am waxed old." (v. 13) 

So when the Lord's three servants appear at the door of Abraham's tents what was their concern for her? Let's look at verse 10 and then 14. They like all prophets had a mission. They were to return her " time of life." 

10. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and low they wife Sarah shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent door, which was behind him. 
14. Is any thing too hard for the Lord? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
When I understood these verses my life changed. I knew that God was the creator of all things. I knew that God was the creator of all life. And I guess I knew he had created our concept of time too, but I had not thought about it with regards to our personal lives while on this earth. Here is an example of God turning back the clock of life so that he can fulfill his promise to Abraham. He said to Abraham, "I will return unto thee according to the time of life." How could he not do this without the power to control the time that rules our lives?

Literally the sands of time had passed through the hourglass and as far as man was concerned could not be returned. But three holy men show up, three priesthood bearers called to bring the miracles of faith to fruition, and Abraham's faith is fulfilled. He had faithfully believed all that God had promised him.
Do we, like Abraham believe all that God promises? Or do we watch the hands of time tick tock against our faith?

In my own life, I too must admit I have had blessings that I believed had slipped through my hands. I too have wanted to let time be my greatest enemy against my faith. I have believed first in the hands of a clock as it ticked against my will and forgotten the hands that rule all time.

My greatest example is how as a young girl I prayed ceaselessly for my own mother to forgo her grief of a lost son and find the faith that I embraced in a living God. I married and moved away from my home to raise my children in the heartland of the Midwest. My children knew their grandmother only through summer visits. My heart broke but nothing could be done to turn back the hands of time that had taken our family away from parental roots.

So when I read these words the other morning I cried. I cried because my daughter sat before me telling me of how she had just come from lunch with her grandmother. I cried because I realized that my own prayers, not too unlike Sarah, had been answered. My children that had not know their grandmother's influence while in their young years were now able to know her wisdom, her wit and most of all her deep love for them. And now they teach her. Through the gospel that is instilled in their lives, they teach her about faith, discipline, and family. Their lives have become a living testimony for my mother to grasp hold of. She studies the gospel daily and gains strength that comes solely from faith.

I wonder if it would have been the same if we had stayed close by during their youth? I wonder like I wondered about Sara and her mothering of Isaac. Would she have had the same faith as a young mother that she did as a mature mother? Would she have entrusted Isaac to Abraham? to the Lord's purposes? Time does make a difference in our lives. Time does heal. And time, as the three prophets come to Abraham's tent proved, time can be restored.

God will return to us, according to our faith, according to the "time of life." What that time is must be a personal promise between God and each one of us.

I sat with my daughter that afternoon past and I too laughed in amazement at what my heart knew was true. All of my prayers had been answered in a most glorious way. Abraham's and Sarah's prayers were answered too. Not in the way they wanted. Not even in the time of life as man understood it, but in the Lord's way. A way that surely brought a deeper understanding of His love for us. A way that surely will catch us all by surprise and we too might catch ourselves laughing, not in a scornful way but in a quiet respectful, joyful way. I laughed quietly. Then I cried for the goodness of my God.

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