Barrenness

Introduction

This is a study on barrenness. In the Bible you will find examples of people who have been barren and without physical children. From these examples, we can learn how God helped them to overcome their barrenness. In a similar manner, many of us have been barren without spiritual children. We have tried so hard to win souls for Christ but not seeing the results. We wonder if we are doing things correctly. We wonder if it is worth the effort at all. We get discouraged.

This is what we can do to overcome barrenness.

Worship the Lord

(Exo 23:25-26 NIV) Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, {26} and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.

What has worshipping God have anything to do with removing barrenness? When we worship God, we are enthroning Him. And when we enthrone Him, we are dethroning our problems. We stop focusing on why we are not fruitful and focus on a God that can be sovereign in any situation.

Learn spiritual virtues

There is much to learn when we are barren as we do when we encounter trials. When we are barren we learn to be humble. It is difficult to be humble when we are in abundance. When we are barren, we learn to depend totally on God. We learn to persevere because we have not seen any fruits yet.

(James 1:2-4 NIV)  Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, {3} because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. {4} Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Ask God for a miracle.

(Gen 11:30 NIV) Now Sarai was barren; she had no children.

It is not naturally possible for Sarah to have children as she was way past the child-bearing age. God gave her children entirely through a miracle.

There may be people whom you are trying to win for Christ but you don't think is likely. You have been praying for them but deep down you do not think it is possible. Remember the case of Sarah. In the same way, God could use a miracle to transform the situation to transform the impossibility into a possibility.

You may need a miracle of God to transform their heart and turn it receptive to the gospel. You may need God's miracle to change the circumstances of that person's life so that they will be interested to hear the gospel.

Mutual prayer for one another

(Gen 25:21 NIV) Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.

We also saw in 1 Samuel 1 how Eli prayed for Hannah and she conceived a son.

There is power in unified prayer. If you want fruitfulness in your ministry, why not form a prayer partnership with someone? Make a commitment to pray for each other's effectiveness in winning souls for Christ.

Believe that God can overcome your barrenness

(Heb 11:11 NIV) By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
Abraham received the blessings of many children from God because he believed God. He believed that God could do what He has promised.

The Bible says that we are not going to get anything from God in prayer if we doubt Him. Therefore faith has to go hand-in-hand with the above "Asking God for a miracle."

Submit to God’s timing

(Eccl 3:1-3 NIV)  There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: {2} a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, {3} a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,

It hurts when we are barren. We want to bear fruits right now! But everything flows according to God’s timing. Abraham learned that when he had to wait for so many years to have a son with Sarah. Throughout the whole time of waiting, God was testing Abraham and molding his character. When the time is right, Abraham had that son just as God had promised.

Discern the cause of barrenness

We need to determine whether the cause of our barrenness is God-allowed or devil-driven. God may allow us to experience barrenness as a judgment and curse for sin. In the passages below we see that fruitfulness was considered to be the result of blessing while barrenness was viewed as a judgment of God or a withholding of blessing.

(Deu 7:14 NIV)  You will be blessed more than any other people; none of your men or women will be childless, nor any of your livestock without young.

(Exo 23:26 NIV)  and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.

But not all barrenness is caused by sin. One example of barrenness that is caused by sin is that of Michal. But there are many instances of barrenness in the Bible that are not due to sin – such as Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Manoah’s wife, Hannah and Elizabeth.

If barrenness is due to sin, we need to ask God to point out specific sins in our life that has resulted in this barrenness.

Another cause of barrenness is the devil. It may not be sin and it may not be God’s intention for you to be barren. It could be the devil’s work to put obstacles in your way because the fruits that you will bear is detrimental to his kingdom.

Genuine hunger to bear fruits

(1 Sam 2:5 NIV) Those who were full hire themselves out for food, but those who were hungry hunger no more. She who was barren has borne seven children, but she who has had many sons pines away.

This is the prayer of Hannah. It tells us the need to really hunger for what we ask for. In other words, it has to be a genuine desire. We saw in Genesis Rachel's genuine desire to have children.

(Gen 30:1 NIV) When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, "Give me children, or I'll die!"

We need that same kind of passion and longer for spiritual children. When we do evangelistic work, are we doing so out of obligation or do we really want souls for Christ. If we don't have the passion for souls, we must ask God for it. We cannot be effective in our ministry if we do not have the deep passion to have spiritual children.

Jesus was so effective in His ministry because He had a genuine longing to see souls saved. He even wept for lost souls.

(Luke 19:41-42 NIV) As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it {42} and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes.

Will we get more passion just by deciding that we should have more passion? No. We need God to give us that passion. Many of us have grown cold to the world outside. We hear of too many disasters in the world that nothing bothers or saddens us anymore. It is common to hear of thousands dead in an earthquake. What is ONE dying soul? We need to ask God to renew our sensitivity to the lost world and give us back that heart of passion.

(Ezek 36:26 NIV) I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Expand our horizon, enlarge our tents

(Isa 54:1-3 NIV) "Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband," says the LORD. {2} "Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. {3} For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.

Israel (Jerusalem) was unfruitful, like a childless woman, but God would permit her to have many children and change her mourning into singing. (See Isaiah 62:4)

God's remedy for Israel's unfruitfulness (Israel at this stage owns nothing and has nothing to show for) is to expand their horizon and spread out their tents. The way to get something is to reach out. Israel is not going to get anything sitting still. She has to go out to conquer lands and expand her territory. If we want spiritual babies, we have to reach out. No one is going to get spiritual children falling on their laps without them having to do nothing.

If you have been barren, consider what efforts you have made to reach out. Have you been evangelizing to your friends and relatives?

If your business have been barren, what have you been doing to spread out your tents? Are you just sitting there waiting for business or are you making concerted efforts to enlarge your tents?