Unproductive, unfruitful, childless, sterile, incapable, and empty are a few of the words used to define barren. Words have such impact on our lives! If only we could find the positive in barrenness. The older I become, the more I cross paths with women my age and older that are childless. Some are brought to tears when asked the dreadful question, “do you have children?” Being childless myself, I can understand the devastation one may feel. We are taught by society as little girls that being a wife and a mother is what gives us purpose; it is what makes you a woman. Although this far from true, we often feel we have failed when our fairy tale of being a wife and mother fall through. It is hurtful to get married and have hopes of having a baby only to find yourself having difficulty conceiving or experiencing health problems that prevent you from ever living your dream of being a mother, but you have not failed! Maybe motherhood will present itself differently to you. God may bring youth into your life to mentor. Maybe you will be a foster parent or an adoptive parent. Maybe God is just waiting on you to trust Him. In scripture we see several women who were barren. I am sure they thought they would never have children, but God had a plan!
“Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children (Judges 13:2).”
The angel of the Lord came to Manoah’s wife and informed her that she would give birth to a son. The angel also gave her very detailed instructions on what she should not do. She was advised not to drink wine or eat anything that was unclean. He also told her not to put a razor to his head for he would be a Nazirite. The wife went to share the good news with Manoah who did what many of us would have done. He went to God in prayer asking to send this man back to provide direction on what to do with the child that would be born. God answered his prayer and the angel returned while his wife was in the field. The wife ran to locate Monoah to bring him back to speak to the angel. During the conversation, Monoah offered to prepare a goat for him, but the angel instructed him to offer a burnt offering to the Lord. Monoah and his wife gave their burnt offering to the Lord and the word came to pass; she bore a son whom she named, Samson.
“Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head (1 Samuel 1:11).”
Hannah was one of Elkanah’s wives, Peninnah being the other wife would provoke Hannah because the Lord had closed up her womb. Unlike Hannah, Peninnah had children but this did not cause Elkanah to love her any less. Instead, Elkahah favored Hannah and would give her double portions. Unfortunately, the bullying caused Hannah to stop eating and she constantly wept. Hannah mustered up the strength to stand to her feet and cry out to God, making a vow that if He blessed her with a male child she would be sure to give him to God. The priest Eli found her behavior of crying and lips moving without a sound to be strange and accused her of drinking, but Hannah expressed her grief and desperation to him. She was desperately praying for God to bless her with a son and He did just that. Her faith moved God and she was blessed with Samuel whom was a great man of God.
“But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John (Luke 1:13).”
Both Zechariah and Elizabeth were faithful to God and followed His commandments, but they had no children. Scripture states that they were well beyond child bearing years. One day while fulfilling his priestly duties, Zechariah went into the temple to burn incense when the angel of the Lord appeared to him. The angel informed Zechariah that his prayer had been heard and answered and Elizabeth would give birth to John. The angel reported that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth and he would bring the people of Israel back to God. Unfortunately, Zechariah questioned the angel and doubted how he and Elizabeth could birth a son because of their age. The angel shut Zechariah’s mouth and he was unable to speak until the promise had been fulfilled.
What we learn from all three of these biblical stories is it takes having faith that God is going to fulfill his promises. Many times we think that the enemy has caused us to be in the situations that we find ourselves in, but unfortunately we find ourselves in these situations because of our personal doubt and behavior. God wants us to know that we can trust him and to prevent us from causing any more damage to ourselves he may shut our mouths just as he did to Zechariah. His mouth had to be shut so that he would not sabotage the promise. That promise had to be fulfilled. If God promises you, He will do it for you. If you notice the angel of the Lord always came with directions; do not drink wine or put a razor to the child’s head. God will provide you with instructions on how to make it to your destiny! Could God be telling you to trust him and not doubt? I hear so many testimonies of women sharing their experiences of having one ovary or being “diagnosed” as sterile but were able to give birth to healthy babies. Remember! there are many that are childless, but there are many with a testimony of childbirth. Where will your faith land you?
Faith it until you make it, Hope for the best, and Love God and yourself with every fiber of your being!