Luke 1:7, 24-25
I’ve been listening to this song by Maverick City called “Isaiah Song.” My favorite part is this line that gets repeated over and over near the end: “It was a barren season, it’s giving birth right now.” It’s so encouraging, and I feel like it’s reflective of where I’ve been for the past year. Everything has felt so empty and dry and isolated. Nothing has felt hopeful. I started thinking then about how in the Bible, some of the most significant people, people who were pivotal to the plan of God, were born out of barren seasons.
Look at Sarah, wife of Abraham. She was barren, and then God made a promise that she would have a child, and she laughed. And then it took so long for God’s promise to come to pass that she tried to make it happen in her own way, giving her servant Hagaar to her husband to have a son. But eventually, after all of this, she does conceive, and she gives birth to Isaac.
And there’s Hannah, wife of Elkanah, who desperately wanted a child, and begged God for one in the altar until the priest accused her of public drunkenness. But when she conceived, she gave birth to Samuel, the priest who would anoint the kings of Israel.
But my personal favorite is Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah. She was barren but faithful to God, and even when both she and her husband were advanced in years, she gave birth to John the Baptist. The Bible says that after years of barrenness and disgrace, she went into seclusion for the first 5 months of her pregnancy, and said, “The Lord has done this for me…in these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” While she was in her sixth month, she receives a visit from Mary the mother of Jesus, and her baby leaped in her womb. The one who would prepare the way of the Lord getting an early start on his purpose.
All of these women endured hardship and disgrace and longing and feeling forgotten. Yet when they thought they were past hope, they conceived and gave birth to not just anyone, but to people who had such an incredible purpose, that they became foundational to the redemption story itself. And so I started to wonder, what is going to be born out of my barren season? What will come out of yours? And why were these incredible men of purpose born to these women after years of barrenness? Could it be because they spent years praying and hoping and believing and fighting? Could it be because they sacrificed and endured uncertainty and shame? Could it be because they prayed their way through their season of waiting? Honestly, I’m not sure, but it gives me hope, for me and for you. Because whatever is coming out of this barren season is going to be more than we could ever ask or think. Incredible things can be birthed from your barren season. —Amanda