D'vrei Torah by Rabbi Ellie Shemtov
All in good time, all in God time
Being patient is sometimes challenging. It can be inconvenient to have to wait for something we really want. All that waiting can also leave us with too much time to think, causing us to be anxious and worried. But as the old Chinese proverb goes, one moment of patience can ward off disaster while one moment of impatience can ruin a while life.
In this week’s Torah portion Vayera, Abraham and Sarah are visited by three angels who announce that Sarah will soon give birth to a son. When Sarah hears this news she laughs—in part because it would seem her age would prevent her from having a child, and in part perhaps because she has lost faith and patience in God’s continual promise of an heir. Since our first encounter with Abraham in last week’s portion when God tells him he will become a great nation there has been a presumption that Abraham and Sarah will soon become parents. As we move into this week’s portion that promise has yet to materialize despite God’s various pronouncements.
The birth of an heir is further delayed as the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah as well as Abraham and Sarah’s troubling encounter with King Avimelech, unfold. It is only after these incidents that וַֽיהוָֹה פָּקַד אֶת־שָׂרָה, God takes note of Sarah at which time she becomes pregnant and gives birth to Isaac.
Life often unfolds in ways we don’t expect and we tend to make plans while God laughs. In Vayera, it is an anxious Sarah who laughs-- anxious for God’s promise to transpire but often lacking the patience. Despite her lack of faith and patience the promise does eventually transpire– all in good time, all in God time.