Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Waiting for Wonder? Here's Hope!

Hi Friends,

I'm working hard on my new book, WAITING FOR WONDER, a Transformational Journey through the Life of Sarah, which is due just after Christmas and is currently scheduled to hit the shelves next November. (All prayers appreciated as I seek to delve deeply into the life and experience of a woman who knew what it meant to wait!)

So, I thought I'd share a short excerpt from the chapter I just finished (remember, this is just the rough draft!) in hopes that you will be encouraged by it.

For those seeking to be faithful in the waiting-times of life, here is hope from the chapter where God changes Sarai's name to Sarah … but first He reveals a new name for Himself. He tells them he is El Shaddai:


         God begins this newest exchange by revealing a new name, a new, deeper, identity for himself ... El Shaddai  The etymology and meaning of Shaddai is obscure. It is usually translated “God Almighty,” but in the Old Testament (Genesis 28:3, 35:11, 43:14, 48:3; Exodus 6:3 and Ezekiel 10:5) there is always a connection with the promise of descendants when using the name, a connotation of God being able to make fertile what is barren and overcome obstacles to fulfill his promises. There’s an idea of “God-Who-Is-Able” or “God-Who-Is-Sufficient” even in the face of seeming impossibility. He is God Who Is Enough. 
So when God reveals himself as El Shaddai, he’s not simply saying he’s a big, all-powerful God. He is wooing them with a picture of a God who is sufficient, who is enough, who can and will meet their needs. He is a God who makes the barren fertile, who desires and is able to bring life and beauty and wonder where there was once only death, dryness, and despair. 
In his very name, he is calling them to come. Come, to the One who will suffice, the One who can quench their thirst, the One who brings springs in the desert (see Isaiah 41). The One who must be enough for them before they can become who God has created them to be.
It is significant that before God calls Abram and Sarai to walk intimately with him, before they become Abraham and Sarah, he first reveals a new name for himself - he gives them a deeper more intimate glimpse of his character and being. We cannot draw closer to God until we see more of who he truly is. We must discover more and more of who God really is before we can become who we really are.
We must see him as El Shaddai -- as God Almighty, God-Who-Is-Able, God-Who-Is-Sufficient, God-Who-Is-Enough-For-Me -- before we can become who we are meant to be, and before he can truly fulfill his promises to us. 
After his wife died, C.S. Lewis wrote in his journal (which was later published in his book, A Grief Observed), “You can’t, in most things, get what you want if you want it too desperately... And so, perhaps, with God ... The time when there is nothing at all in your soul except a cry for help may be just the time when God can’t give it: you are like the drowning man who can’t be helped because he clutches and grabs. Perhaps your own reiterated cries deafen you to the voice you hoped to hear. On the other hand, ‘Knock and it shall be opened.’ But does knocking mean hammering and kicking the door like a maniac?” (36-37)
         I’ve been there. So has Sarai. Maybe you have too. When we are desperate, when we are kicking down the door, when we’ll try anything, when we give our maidservant to our husband to have a child, then, our God is not enough. He is not enough for us. 
But after thirteen years of watching Ismael grow up, Sarai has discovered the God who is, who must be, Enough. He is enough to not only make her barren womb live again but her barren heart as well. It is God Almighty, the One who is sufficient for us, who calls us to become who he created us to be.