When you are called to birth something that can only glorify God, you may endure a time of barrenness and provocation from your adversary. You might suffer accusations from friends, family and even religious leaders in your life. The torment of seeming fruitlessness can press you into abandoning the desire for the earthly blessing. But it is never the desire of the Lord for you to lose faith.
In 1 Samuel 1, the mother of the prophet Samuel helps us see the struggle of barrenness and the process of birthing something in which only God could get the credit. When Hannah couldn’t conceive in the natural, she became a lightning rod for God’s glory.
“But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved Hannah, but the Lord had closed her womb. Now her rival provoked her greatly, making her miserable because the Lord had closed her womb. Thus it was yearly, when she went up to the house of the Lord, that she provoked her. So Hannah wept and did not eat” (1 Sam. 1:5-7).
Hannah’s husband could not comfort her with earthly love or a double-portion blessing. Seasons that lack visible fruit will stretch you. They will cause you to pray, fast and seek the Lord, casting out things not of eternal value. Even a double-portion temporal blessing will not comfort your aching heart. This frustration becomes a groaning for justice on the earth. This is a good thing (Rom. 8:26).
God is at work, removing the deep wounds suffered from being misunderstood, rejected, accused, and abandoned during the season of seeming barrenness. He is ministering deeply to His children and shining the light of His glory, exposing the hidden pain and delivering those dear to His heart. Your sorrow and pain do not go unseen.
The Lord is saying, “I am the God who sees. I am the God who hears the intense petitions within your heart! I see the pain and abuse you have walked through, my child. You have said in your heart, ‘I have forgiven them and moved on.’ This may be so, but I see the wounds that remain. Today is the day of your freedom! I am restoring your compassion for the lost, wounded and sick, and reigniting your faith. Your time of birthing is near. Let me expose the scars and heal your wounds. My strength is made perfect in your weakness. Your season of barrenness has made you a lightning rod for my glory to be revealed and my power displayed through you. I will cause you, like Hannah of old, to birth my vision. From loss will bloom life more significant than yourself. From brokenness, healing will flow.”
Many have suffered through trials like those Hannah endured. But the desire to remain pure before the Lord produced an inner longing and humble heart. Know this: The humble will be exalted. The Father is far more concerned with our godly character, love for others and devotion to Him than our success before men.
As you heal, you will see that the Lord is stretching out your tent pegs. His plans for you are to mature and not harm you. The tension has increased your capacity to rightly handle His promise. You will find yourself in His powerful grace receiving beauty for ashes.
“Sing, O barren, you who did not bear a child. Break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child. For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, says the Lord. Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your habitations; spare not, lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes.
For you shall spread out to the right hand and to the left, and your descendants shall inherit the nations and make the desolate cities to be inhabited” (Isa. 54:1-3).
The season of barrenness made you a lightning rod for God’s glory.
God, not the enemy, had closed Hannah’s womb. God was the one she had to pursue; the throne was where her appeal was made. So it has been with many who are passionate about awakening, revival and a genuine move of God.
He has been delivering us from needing the approval of man, purifying our desires and calling His people higher.
He has been preparing His people, like Hannah, to birth something that would change the nation and glorify Him alone.
Prayers are not pretty or peaceful when we are passionate for God to do something beyond our control. Hannah’s prayers were not religious, but they were pure. She was not drunk with wine but intoxicated with longing. Her cries were for the gaze of the Lord, not her husband, not the priest and not her rival! Her intercessions were for God’s leadership and defense and a gift she could consecrate and dedicate to Him alone (1 Sam. 1:12–16, Rom. 8:26).
Hannah’s barrenness produced a groaning that caused heaven to stop and respond. In her weakness, God’s might and power were evident. The Spirit of the Lord knew her heart and mind, and He moved from within her, even moving Eli the priest into agreement with her prayers.
The Lord is forming within His bride, through the stretching, groaning and purification process of prayer and fasting, more than she could ever ask, think or imagine. He caused Hannah to cry out for a child who would restore a defiled priesthood. He has formed within His global bride the desire to birth an undefiled movement that will usher in His return.
We have been marked by God to birth something greater than ourselves. The season of barrenness has been working in us, preparing our character and pressing us into the place of deep intimacy. Our gaze has been set on the bridegroom King! Beloved, He has seen your pain and is moving to heal the trauma of your barrenness. “Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5b).