Barren. Unproductive. Sterile. Unfruitful. Dull. Destitute. Lacking. Incapable of producing offspring.
Genesis 11:30 “Now Sarai was barren; she had no child.”
Abraham’s wife, Sarai (later known as Sarah), prayed earnestly for children. The Lord even promised her husband that he would be the forefather of a great nation and his descendants would outnumber the stars in the sky. But Sarah was barren? Had God forgotten his promise? Sarah was also very advanced in years, so much so that she even laughed when an angel prophesied about her upcoming pregnancy. Oh no, the Lord NEVER forgets His promises! He heard the cry of Sarah’s heart.
Genesis 25:21 “And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.”
Rebekah was very distraught over her inability to become pregnant. She joined her husband in prayer, just as their parents has done, lifting their desire for children up to the Lord. And the Lord heard Rebekah’s cry and healed her of her infertility and barrenness.
Judges 13:3 “And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold, you are barren and have not borne children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.”
Samson’s mother was not a well known of character in the Bible, but her son sure was! A man of great strength, with a hero’s tale of temptation, victory, and the mighty hand of God. Psalm 113:9 declares that the Lord hears the cry of the heart of the barren woman, and makes her the joyous mother of children!
Isaiah 54:1 ““Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.”
Luke 1:7 “But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.”
Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist, the one to prepare the way for Jesus Christ! Imagine if Elizabeth had given up on taking God at His Word! She would have missed out on the opportunity to play such an incredible role in the greatest story ever told! Elizabeth and her husband, Zachariah, were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. They were also very old in age. The Lord will answer our prayers. It may not be in our timing – actually it almost never will be in our timing – and it may not be how we think it should be answered – but it will be in accordance with the perfect will and timing of the Creator of the Universe, who sees the entire book in one glance when all we can see is a letter or word in a sentence.
Genesis 29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. Genesis 30:22-23 Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.”
Even Leah and Rachel, caught up in a storm of jealousy and deep desire for children that at times surpassed their desire for the Lord, are key players in a story that tells us the same simple truth…that God is the giver of life. That He hears the cries of the barren woman. That He gives life according to His perfect will and perfect timing. And therein lies my choice. Do I take these stories to heart? Ladies, we cannot declare that the Bible is true, but refuse the power of its truth in our lives. And if it was true for Elizabeth and Sarah and Rachel and Leah and Hannah…and Mary!…then it is true for me. All we have to do to see the evidence of the faithfulness of God, is to look back through the stories in Scripture. That is why these stories have been given to us! For with each story of the triumph of God, we are told, “My child, I have not changed. I gave life then, I can do it again! I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Mary, (your name here)…!”
Barrenness. Only the Lord can turn barrenness into fruitfulness! Barrenness can apply to other areas of our life. Do you carry the burden of an area of your life that is barren, lacking, unfruitful, desolate? Have you believed the lie from the pit of hell that this barrenness is your punishment or penitence for the mistakes you have made? If your marriage barren? Is your joy desolate? Is your career or job unproductive? Are your relationships sterile? Is your soul lacking? God desires to bring life to the desolate places. He wants to heal the lacking and sterile places of our life. He desires so much more for us than what we are settling for!
When you consider the places lacking essence and vitality in your life, don’t laugh at the Lord and His ability to bring life to the darkest, most inanimate deserts. Instead, join me as I bring my pain and tears to the feet of Jesus, rest in His promises, and become filled with His breath of life to get up and glorify Him another day. Pray for me as I trust Him to bring life to my barren places. And I will be praying for you as well.