Barren No More
December 13 - Luke 1:5-25
v.25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
Andrea and I were married and childless long enough for people to stop asking if and when we were going to have children. Perhaps we would not; perhaps we could not; perhaps we did not want kids. I have to laugh nowadays, because people ask when we plan to stop having kids!
We live in a much different time than Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist. The news that she would bear a son in her old age vindicated her trust in the God whom she served "blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord" (1:6). People would no longer talk about her childlessness and speculate about why she was displeasing to the Lord. Her reproach had been taken away.
Barrenness overcome was a common motif among the great figures of the Old Testament, beginning with Sarah and Abraham. The womb paralleled the Promised Land, as locations of God's life-giving favor. Despite lifelong heartache and reproach, Elizabeth walked in righteousness and Zechariah served faithfully in the priesthood. By the grace of God, they would become the latest demonstration of the Lord's power to bring life from unexpected places. “Where are you? I AM here.” Their son would go forth "in the spirit and power of Elijah" to prepare the way for God's arrival.
The only way to top the barrenness motif would be for God to bring life out of a virgin's womb - salvation would arrive from utterly outside of the realm of human possibility.
God of our barren places, bring life where there is death, stir up hope where there is despair, empower love where there is fear. By your grace, remove our reproach with your arrival. Amen.