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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“For it is written: ‘Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, you who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband.’”—Galatians 4:27 (NKJV)
I won’t pretend to understand the pain of infertility. I can only write from the pain I know—that of a deep emptiness. But I think we can all relate to barrenness in one way or another. Sometimes life isn’t what we thought it would be like.
Years ago, my long-term relationship ended. No longer did my plans for marriage and family exist. Suddenly I felt a cold emptiness where those dreams had once kept me warm.
When our plans shatter, you start to see beyond them to what God has been doing.
At the time, I was leading a small group of teens. It was rewarding, but I often neglected preparing and praying in order to spend time with my boyfriend. Every week I struggled to focus my heart on my small group. But when the relationship was removed, my focus sharpened. Soon my small group became the best part of my life. My purpose and soul were refreshed.
One day during that time, I read the above verse and exclaimed to my roommate how amazing it was. She couldn’t understand why “barrenness” felt like such a joy to me. And it probably only makes sense to those who are called into it.
But to me, this verse speaks life and perspective to those who are looking at things from a position of emptiness and neglect. We are not victims. We are children of the King, and what He gives us is all we need. He alone knows what our hearts truly beat for, and sometimes it takes loss to truly realize that gain.
Romance was just a glimpse of the other loves that I had welling inside.
If you are walking through a season of unmet expectations or broken dreams, be encouraged. Sometimes that’s the best place to be.
Do not sit. Break forth and rejoice. The verse says the barren woman had many more children. Whether they’re by birth or by some form of adoption, you don’t just inherit children. They are pursued and invested. So don’t let your plan’s failure cause you to neglect the gifts that are near you.
You have strengths you couldn’t before possess. You have opportunity only available in this season. So don’t crave the ones that come in the next season and neglect the things before you now.
When your hands are open, God can use them for so much more than when they’re crossed over your chest or toiling in a field that isn’t your own.
DIG: Read Isaiah 54 again and again.
DISCOVER: In what areas of your life have you experienced barrenness?
DO: If you find yourself in a season of barrenness, where you’re empty in the depth of your being, pray for new perspective. Pray for the vision to break forth and rejoice.