Infertility in the Bible

20 Jul

All though it often feels like I am alone in my grief and that no one understands how I feel, the Bible shows me that I am not the first one to suffer the heart-wrenching defeat of infertility. Scripture tells of so many brave women who were healed by God of their infertility and blessed with children by His grace. He performed miracles in their time and He performs them now. If you think God can’t give you a child, then I suggest you read your Bible and see that HE CAN!

My favorite Bible stories about infertility are the stories of Rachel and of Hannah, you can also read about Sarah, Rebecca, Elizabeth and  countless others.

Rachel – You can read about Rachel in Genesis 29-30

“And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren… and when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.. and God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb… and she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach.” Genesis 29-30

I love Rachel’s story because it is so intensely relate-able (at least it is for me). Rachel’s story is a perfect example of how ugly infertility can be. She suffered the bitter sting of envy as she witnessed her own sister blessing Jacob with son after son while her womb remained empty. I bet she felt so small, so insignificant. I imagine that she continuously compared herself to Leah, wondering  what she had done so wrong (or perhaps what Leah had done that was so right) that Leah received God’s blessing while she suffered.Rachel and I are not so different in that respect. When I learn of a friend or family member’s pregnancy I become intensely jealous and I often wonder if God loves them more than me (He doesn’t by the way, but it is a legitimate thought). Rachel said “give me children, or else I die!” She was serious about this, huh? Well I know the feeling Rachel. I feel like motherhood is my calling, my very purpose in life. How, then, would I be able to live a life without children? When you want something so bad, it is truly hard to accept life without it. Rachel was obviously bitter and angry, as so many infertile women are, but guess what? God remembered her and blessed her! He can do the same for any of us.

Hannah – You can read about Hannah in 1 Samuel 1

“Hannah had no children… and she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore… and she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou… wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life…and the Lord remembered her… Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord.” -1 Samuel Ch. 1

“For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:2

Hannah’s Story shows me that prayer DOES prevail. The Bible tells us that Hannah was in “bitterness of soul”. Scripture says that Hannah even refused to eat. Sounds like she was depressed to me. Boy, have I been there before. At one point Hannah decided that she couldn’t bare the weight of her infertility anymore. It was just too hard so she went and prayed. She prayed frantically, so much that the priest even accused her of being drunk! But Hannah was just talking to God. She was so desperate for a son that she made God a promise. She vowed that if He would give her a son, she would give Him right back to the Lord. Now that is desperation, but in it’s most beautiful form. Hannah left that conversation with God feeling renewed. No longer sad. And it wasn’t long before God gave her just what she had asked Him for. Hannah’s story teaches me that when things get too hard to bare, give it to God and He will renew your joy. Too often I try to bare my burdens alone, and I don’t have to.

I find it absolutely amazing the things I have in common with these amazing women. My troubles aren’t new, they are Biblical and my story is as beautiful as Hannah’s and Rachel’s. God loves me just as much.

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