|Saturday, June 4, 2022|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
“Isaac pleaded with the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was unable to have children. The Lord answered Isaac’s prayer, and Rebekah became pregnant with twins. “ Gen 25:21
he story of Isaac is well known. He was the promised child. He grew up in a dysfunctional home. His father Abraham was a friend of God. He was called of God with a wonderful promise to form a nation. “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:” Gen 12:2. Abraham was a pioneer of faith , he had nobody to learn from, he did not understand why God will make a promise now and it will be delayed. He did not realize that there’s a process to receiving the promises of God. Between the promise and the palace, there is the process. Abraham was not taught that between the promise and the promised land there is a wilderness. This led to the costly mistake of having Ishmael before Isaac.
The story of Isaac and Ishmael reminds me of the story of a father who had two sons. The father we were told was a drunkard, who abused his wife severally and did not care about the children. Nevertheless, when the children grew up one was a fine gentleman and the other was a brute and reckless person . When both of them were interviewed the brute said he was into that life style because of “his father” -that his father treated the mum very badly. The second one also responded he is living a clean life because of “his father”. He promised himself he will not follow his father’s ugly life style. It’s true Ishmael means wild and spiritually is not the promised child, he might have noticed the way Abraham treated his mum - drove her away with a bottle of water and so he went and formed a generation of “wild people” who till today abuse their wives.
On the other hand the Holy Spirit made me to see the life of Isaac who like the other son said I saw the struggles of my father, I will not go through that route. He must have said to himself. His father Abraham had a little famine in Bethel and ran to Egypt.Gen 4:12. His father had a delay in having children because Sarah was barren, he married Hagar and had a child through her. Isaac had the challenge of famine, he was tempted to go to Egypt again, God warned him not to go and he obeyed.
Today we read in our text that Isaac’s wife also was barren!
Christendom is full of all challenges today, the divorce rate is high, the abuse rate is astronomically higher, barrenness afflicts our homes and we live our Christian lives as if like Abraham we are pioneering faith and we are staggering “ in faith” How should we handle barrenness? How did Isaac handle barrenness?
What is barrenness? Barrenness means incapable of producing offspring, seed, or fruit. Inability to support the growth. Unproductive. Unfruitfulness. Lacking in stimulation of ideas.
We are not just talking of physical barrenness in all ramifications.
Let us learn some lessons for our marriages from Isaac on how to handle barrenness .
1. You are not the cause of your barrenness. Isaac realized his wife is not the cause of her barrenness. There are many things in your marriage that you or your spouse are not responsible for. Resolve not to allow such things to be sources of tension. Reinhold Niebuhr the American Theologian said “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
2. Pray about your marrital challenges. The issue of not having physical children is very challenging. I went through it in the early stage of my marriage. You may still need help but you pray first. I mean pray, not play lip service to praying about it consulting pastors, marabout or prayer contractors. Notice Isaac took it as a challenge and prayed about it. The family that prays together stays together.
3. Persevere. Between the promise and the promised land is the wilderness. Wilderness experience is tough. That is where many miss it. Resolve to go though it together as a couple. Find ways to tackle it, Realize it may not be easy but “when there’s a will there is a way”Robert H Schuller said “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Hannah persevere- went to Shiloh many times but did not give up.
4. Don’t let it lead to divorce. At the peak of it bear in mind God has promised children to come from you but the devil wants to prevent it through a divorce. God said “I hate divorce “ Mal 2:16.
5. Learn from the process. “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands." Deuteronomy 8:2 (NIV).It is the test of life. Some people’s test is financial , some is emotional. Learn from your own so that others coming after you will learn from you. 2 Cor 1:3-6.
6. Get the help you need. Infertility carries so many emotions and so many struggles. Sometimes individual partners simply struggle to understand themselves, much less try to understand each other. That's where a little extra help comes in. It could be deliverance, it could be counselling, it could be from people who have gone though it, It could be medical help. Whatever help you need get it.
7. Pray for your spouse. Learn the habit of praying for your partner. We are in the age of demonizing our spouse because of challenges. Isaac prayed for his wife. Seriously do you pray for your spouse? Cultivate the habit of prophesying on each other. Pray for your wife. Pray for your husband. Pray about your spouse’s career, struggles, business, life, in-laws. Saturate your spouse with prayer in the morning, noon or night. Pray when you are physically together and on the phone when you are not together. Pray for each other when things are going well and when it is not too well. Abraham did not pray for Sarah, went after Hagar, caused the whole world unending troubles. Be like Isaac save future generation with your committed breakthrough prayer!
8. Don’t deny each other sex. Whether for geographical, economical, or emotional reasons. Imagine couples trusting God for children yet avoiding intimacy because of quarrels. Forgive each other all offences, let nothing provoke you against intimacy, particularly during the ovulation period!Travel long distances if you have to.
9. Don’t assume. In times past people thought only women were the source of barrenness. Scientific research and medical advancement have shown the contrary. Therefore both should go for check ups and both should go for prayers.
10. Realize that delay is not denial. You will have children. Believe it. We may not be able to explain why some will only have children after 5, 10, 20, even more years. But they do. Some today have through adoption. Some though IVF. Believe the first prayer in the bible - And he blessed them and said- Be fruitful Gen 1:28. You shall be fruitful.
11. God always shows up. Remember the three Hebrew boys in the furnace, even if he did not show up the way you expected, your marriage is never barren. We may think of barrenness only in terms of physical children, it’s not necessarily so. What matters is that you are fruitful. There are various areas where your marriage will bless your generation. Identify and pursue them.Write books, invent , innovate. Be fruitful!
Conclusion: Isaac prayed for his wife. God granted his request and they had a set of twins. Receive the anointing to pray for your spouse. Expect double blessings.