11:11

      I remember when I was younger, whenever I looked at the clock and the numbers read 11:11, I made a wish.

Usually it was something grand, but toddler temporary: a trip to the fairgrounds with my father, asking my sister to let me borrow something of hers, or my mother coming home early from work.

Now that I am older I still look at the time and wish my life was as easy as it was so many years ago. That I could ask for anything and in my whole being believe that it would come true.

It took me awhile to realize that we still have that power even as we get older. Our wishing can be called praying. Our waiting can be called faith. And we aren’t talking to some gods of time or the universe.

We are talking to the One who created the universe.

     Now when I see the time 11:11, I ask myself: Did I pray today? Have I talked to God in honesty and hope?

     God isn’t our personal genie; He didn’t create our wished in life, but He wants to know our wants and needs. He loves to listen to us.

      But with our praying also comes the waiting, and that is where we lose ourselves. When we have to wait, our faith can dwindle and waver.

      Hebrews 11:1 states, “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we do not see.” 

       Now Hebrews 11 is known for being the Great Faith Chapter of the Old Testament. It is a great list of how people like Abraham and Noah trusted God and let Him follow through on His promises on divine time.

        Out of only two women listed in this chapter is the character of Sarah.

Her given verse is Hebrews 11:11, “And by faith, even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered Him faithful who made the promise.”   

         Sarah was Abraham’s wife. She had been unable to have children for many years. Because of this, she gave her handmaid to her husband, saying that it was the only way Abraham would produce an heir. This was not how God intended Abraham and Sarah to become the makers of a nation.

       This is a clear picture of what we sometimes choose to do in our own lives. We know what God has promised us, but we don’t want to wait for it. So we take His plans into our own hands and that’s when our lives get messy.

       My God is one of perfect timing.

He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. If we rush His plans, it can hurt us more than help us.

      This decision by Sarah and her husband to create God’s heir led to distrust and anger between Sarah and the maid. It also led to a reason for God to work an even greater miracle in their lives. Even though we mess up, God can still use those mistakes for His glory.

       Years passed, and Sarah was still childless. Her faith was waning. When Sarah was 90 years old, God finally promised her son.

        And she laughed!

        Maybe I’ve never laughed at the Lord, but sometimes I choose to think that His promises won’t come true because they feel too far out of reach for me.

However, His promises aren’t about only me—they are about me and my relationship Him.

         So God answered Sarah in this way. Genesis 18:13, “Then the Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child, now that I am old?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

       Sarah chose to believe this promise. She conceived a son by the name of Isaac, a man who produced countless nations and kings.

Genesis 21: 1-2, “Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.”

        The numbers 11:11 used to remind me of simple wishful thinking, but now it is an expression of faith. With God truly the impossible becomes possible. When I worry about my circumstances or feel stuck in temptation or sin, I know that God will allow that mess-up or mistake to become part of a greater story for Jesus and his love for the world and for us.

About the Author: 

Ellie Zumbach is currently a student at Malone University studying Creative Writing and Theatre. From a very young age, she has loved stories and their power to encourage, teach, and inspire. She is a proud member of a drama ministry team known as the Chancel Players and a co-director of the Writers Guild on campus.  Welcome Ellie as she shares her words with “Memoirs of a Virtuous Woman” readers as an intern for Fall 2017.

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