Can I speak to the barren feeling people for a minute? For many of you, it’s not a barren womb, but a barren season that holds your pain. You long for something good to come from the hard and painful places you’ve been living in, but your heart just can’t see it. I can speak to that. I’ve lived with that feeling. I’m talking to the ones looking around for any sign of something growing, those who have come to believe there will be little, if any, fruit from this season. I want to whisper right into the ear of the one who feels empty and unproductive, like something has died (and very well may have) –
God does amazing things in barren places.
Isaac. Jacob. Joseph. Samson. Samuel. John the Baptist. The common thread that runs through each of their stories? Their mothers were barren. Childless.
Isaac. His barren mother was 90. Daddy Abraham was 100.
Isaac. The son of promise. Second patriarch of the Israelites. He grandfathered the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jacob. His mom, Rebekah had been barren for about 20 years when God answered her husband, Isaac’s prayer. Jacob. Third patriarch of the Israelites. Third person in the line of God’s covenant with Abraham. He fathered the twelve tribes of Israel.
Joseph’s mom was Rachel, one of Jacob’s two wives, and she too was barren until God stepped in. Joseph. Sold into slavery as a boy, and became the second most powerful man in Egypt.
Samson. While mother is not named, her barrenness is. Named by an angel who said to her, “You are barren and childless, but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son. Samson. Mighty warrior, and one of the twelve leaders who judged Israel.
Samuel. Hannah’s womb was shut by God, and then opened by Him so that Hannah could have the child for which she so fervently prayed. Samuel. Israel’s first prophet and king-maker. He anointed Israel’s first king.
John the Baptist. His mother, Elizabeth was “very old”, and unable to conceive. John the Baptist. Truth speaker. Baptizer.
Forerunner of Jesus.
This was all God, making greatness come from barrenness. That’s His way, you know. He leaves the possible to mortals, while He pulls glory from impossible places.
This is what I believe: In the midst of our most barren places, God is making a way for life.
Is there anyplace more barren than death itself? And yet, He has given us His Word that He brings dead back to life.
- Two of God’s prophets, Elijah and Elisha each brought women’s sons back to life.
- A dead man was thrown into Elisha’s tomb and came back to life.
- At a funeral procession for a widow’s only son, Jesus brought him back to life for her.
- Jairus, a Jewish leader’s, daughter died. Jesus raised her from the dead.
- Lazarus, brother to Mary & Martha, died and was buried for 4 days when Jesus called him out of his grave.
- Jesus. Crucified, dead and buried. Risen to new life after 3 days.
For the love of sinners, God brought forth a Savior from the womb of a virgin, had Him die our death, and then brought Him out of the grave so that we too could be raised to life.
When we were dead in our sins, living the most barren of lives, God gave us our first real breath through Christ.
From barren places, God brings life.
In our barrenness, God is faithful. Do you believe this?
Genesis 17; Genesis 25:21; Genesis 30:22; Judges 13:2; 1Samuel 1:1; Luke 1:18-23; 1Kings 17:17-24; 2Kings 4:18-37; 2Kings 13:20-21; Luke 7:11-17; Luke 8:49-56; John 11:1-44;