Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? Genesis 17:17; Any Barren Women of the Bible series would be lacking without Sarai/Sarah and Abraham’s infertility story.
Last week’s devotional urged couples to seek a closer walk with God and follow His guidance amidst this infertility journey. Even if our jumping the gun and taking the reigns wouldn’t quite commence a Egyptian bondage of four hundred years (as some suggest in Sarah and Abraham’s case) and later throw a whole region of the world into chaos in future generations, there is always something to lose if we don’t follow God’s lead through this journey.
The second aspect of Sarah and Abraham’s story I want to touch upon is the unique promise they received. There were a handful of promised babies in scripture, and a few of those were supernaturally miraculous (to Mary, as a virgin.. to Sarah and Elisabeth, as postmenopausal elderly women). Nowadays we have many self-proclaimed messengers of god, and with such a sensitive topic as infertility a lot of them will want to speak some word (that is really from their hearts, not God). Therefore I have heard many “promises” myself, and in some cases other’s have relayed very detailed “promises”. Of the ones so detailed to include time frames, I have yet to hear of one come true. I am sure there are some (especially non-detailed) that have “come true” haphazardly, because most couples do eventually end up becoming pregnant. And there’s probably the occasional legit prophecy. If you’re living in the Spirit you might easily know the difference. God’s word doesn’t tend toward the vague in these matters, as if ascertained through a crystal ball. God given prophecies never fail, “For no word from God will ever fail.” (Luke 1:37)
It is totally normal to want to know the future, or aspects of it. It is most normal to not be given those details, and instead have to choose to have faith and trust in God for whatever may come. To love Him with your heart, mind and soul no matter what.
A few women in the direct line of Jesus Christ had their pregnancies announced preconception. The fact of future descendants was declared much earlier for Abraham, but the nitty-gritty details came around a year prior to the birth, when the couple were about 100 (Abraham) and 90 (Sarah) years of age:
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. Genesis 17:21
And she laughed, as her husband had:
In Ge 18:12 Sarah laughed – Partly through pleasure at the bare idea of the possibility of the thing, and partly from a conviction that it was extremely improbable. She appears to have been in the same spirit, and to have had the same feelings of those who, unexpectedly hearing of something of great consequence to themselves, smile and say, “The news is too good to be true;”, see Ge 21:6. There is a case very similar to this mentioned Ps 126:1, Ps 126:2. On Abraham’s laughing, See note on Ge 17:17. Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the Bible
I’m pretty sure I would have the same reaction, even if I were a future “Hall of Faith”-er (Hebrews 11) such as these two.
In Exodus 23 the Lord makes a ton of promises to a wandering Israel, if they as a nation remain faithful. These include everyone living to a long age, no sickness, no miscarriages, no barren, etc. On top of no nation presently following the Lord as required, let alone the specific nation the promise was given to not being able to do so for any extended period of time, and even if the promise were somehow to any nation… one part of this chapter is often plucked totally out of it’s context and “given” to us, that we won’t be barren. In this age where instead of “rightly dividing the word of truth” and minding the speaker’s meaning has been replaced with twisting the Gods words or taking Him out of context if you can make the bible say something you like… well, I’ve heard this one. I’ve even heard this one from someone who miscarries often. (I shudder to think of the self accusation that goes on in the aftermath, perhaps a full on crisis of faith for some.) I’ve also heard the individual promises, like Mary’s, quoted to me. Of course, with the naming him Jesus and His saving the world part edited out. What??? We need to have more respect for God’s word. We would be so angered if our own words were taken out of context. So how are we justifying doing so to HIS words? As “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”, such a low view of His word that one can disregard context and twist a few words to any seemingly goodly means surely is the end of wisdom. Because making God a liar is obviously bad, the blame goes on the believer. Thus in the wake of this sort of misapplied scripture are many disenfranchised believers who were terribly hurt by the reproach of other believers and the implications of their assumed promise not coming to pass… (and they are the reason I bring this up!)
If you were told you didn’t “believe” or have “enough faith” and that is why you are barren, because their “prophesy” failed or otherwise, please don’t let such spiritual abuse drive you away from the Lord. Please don’t let reproach drive you away. See Question: “What is biblical hermeneutics?” from GotQuestions. The real promises of God in scripture are much better than the made up (usually temporal gain themed). And busting through the false ones can bust you out of the depression such false teachings cause.
In a big way, not knowing what will happen in our lives opens us up to so much more in terms of spiritual deepness like trusting the Lord. Remember the time (most of) you never thought of infertility? Remember when life was going along as expected? Any memory of thinking highly of your trusting God then, how easy it was? We may have thought we had that down pat, LOL. Memory or no memory, it’s easy to “trust” when things are going as planned. And as long as things go as planned for people, they sort of know the future. They’ve got a 5 and 10 year plan, maybe longer! But we learned better at some point, that unexpected trials happen, or expected things don’t happen, and that begins a new process — of REALLY trusting God and having faith whatever may come. Of releasing our desire for control to Him and persevering in all situations.