“The best present is your presence.”
Abimelech captures Sarah and takes her for a wife. In a vision, Abimelech is informed that Sarah is married to Abraham and he is instructed to bring Sarah to Abraham so that Abraham will pray for him.
It becomes apparent that the ailment afflicting Abimelech, his family, and his subjects, was some sort of infertility, as the verse records Abraham’s prayer on his behalf and then we are told that children were born to Abimelech and his subjects.
The very next verse begins the story of Isaac’s birth. “And God remembered Sarah.”
1. I love the context here. Abimelech’s court has been impotent for 5 minutes. Sarah has been barren of 99 years. Within 3 verses, both have children. little irony.
2. God “remembers” Sarah after Abraham prays for Abimelech’s fertility. How different might it have been if Abraham prayed for fertility for Sarah when they were both younger? It’s almost as if God was saying to Abraham, “I have been waiting for you to pray all along.”
3. Abraham was clearly very good at the BIG stuff. He fought a war to save Lot. He does circumcision. He magnanimously feeds and hosts guests in his home. He stridently prays for God to spare entire cities. But he does not seem very good with the small stuff.
Take Sarah’s infertility. He seems resigned to their fate. Maybe because he sees fertility as pure nature and that’s not God’s department. So it’s almost as if the purpose of the Abimelech story was to educate Abraham about the importance of the small stuff.
Healing Abimelech is a very small thing. God brought it on Abimelech 5 minutes ago, it can’t be that “hard” to reverse. But Abraham knew that he needed to pray for this small thing. In order to pray, one needs to be conscious of the thing one is lacking. Once Abraham saw the value of the small things, he knew he should have prayed for Sarah, even though fertility is nature, and invisible to the ancient, and just one person’s fate – it’s small stuff. Only then does God “remember” Sarah’s infertility.
Parenting demands that we are equally present for the smaller stuff as the big stuff. It’s true in all of life as well. Be conscious and mindful of all the moments of your life. The big ones and the smaller ones. Don’t sleep through the small stuff, instead be Godly and treat everything as the big stuff.
Once Abraham demonstrated this ability, he was blessed with a son to Sarah. When we get this, we are blessed with positive results in all our quests as well.