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4

Nothing Is Impossible

Key References: Genesis 18:1-16; 21:1-7; Patriarchs and Prophets, chap. 12, pp. 137-139; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 1, pp. 159-161; Our Beliefs, nos. 3, 21, 22

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“Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son” (Genesis 18:14).

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God keeps His promises and blesses our families.

Do you have a little brother or sister? If so, how did you feel when your parents told you that a baby would be added to your family? Did it seem like a long time before the baby was born? Were you very excited? Abraham and Sarah were even more excited when their baby was born. They had waited a long time!

The hot sun blazed down on the landscape. Everything was very still. The animals lay bunched together in the shade, their tails flicking away the occasional fly. Even the birds were quiet, resting. Abraham sat in the doorway of his tent. His eyes were heavy. But something caught his half-closed eyes.

What was that? He squinted. Travelers were coming. It was an odd time of the day for travelers. They would be hot and tired. Probably hungry, too. Abraham got to his feet. “Sarah!” he called. “There are three strangers approaching.” Abraham strode briskly out to meet them.

Abraham bowed low before the men, showing respect and great courtesy. “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord,” he said, “do not pass your servant by. Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way—now that you have come to your servant” (Genesis 18:3-5).

The three strangers smiled at each other. It was wonderful to be in the company of a kind and generous man. “Very well,” they replied, “do as you say.”

Abraham made sure his guests were comfortably seated, and then he hurried back into the tent to ask Sarah for help to prepare the food. “Quick,” he said to her, “get three seahs [approximately 36 pounds, or 16 kilograms] of the finest flour and knead it and bake some bread” (verses 5, 6). Then Abraham ran out to his herd. He picked out a fat calf and gave it to a servant to prepare.

The preparations took awhile. Baking the bread. Cooking the meat. In the meantime the servants brought water to wash the strangers’ dusty feet.

When the food was ready, Abraham himself served the men. He had given them the very best food he had: cheese curds, milk, and roasted meat.

One of the men looked up. “Where is your wife Sarah?” he asked. Abraham was surprised by the question. The man continued.

“I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son” (verses 9, 10). Abraham’s surprise evaporated. A twinkle appeared in his eye. He had a pretty good idea now just who the Person that was talking to him was! It was the same Person who had first promised him a son 25 years earlier!

Sarah stood behind the tent curtains. It was the only place where she could hear the conversation going on outside, because women weren’t allowed to mingle with male guests. She laughed to herself when she heard the Stranger’s words.

For 25 years Abraham had told her over and over that she would have a son. She used to have hope. But she was 89 years old now! How can an old woman like me have a baby? she thought.

Suddenly Sarah stiffened. “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ the Stranger asked Abraham. “Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son” (verses 13, 14).

Sarah slid out of the tent and uttered the very first words that came to mind. “I did not laugh,” she said. She was embarrassed and confused.

“Yes, you did laugh,” the Stranger replied kindly (verse 15). Because He was who He was, He couldn’t let a lie slip by. But He could forgive one. Sarah realized that the Lord Himself had come to strengthen her and give her faith.

God Himself was here in her front yard! And His words lodged deep in her heart. God, who had made everything out of nothing, could give her a child! Of course He could! Her very own child! What she wanted more than anything else in the whole world! Tears stung Sarah’s eyes as she stepped back into the privacy of her tent. Tears of forgiveness. Tears of hope. Tears of joy.