some words seem to be magnified in different seasons. for me, in this season, the word that i seem to be circling back to is barrenness or desolation.
the Lord responds to barrenness. we see it with sarai in genesis 16, rachel, hannah and more throughout the old testament where the Lord chooses to open the barren womb of these women and allow them to conceive. not only does this word describe these women and their condition, but many times the word is also used to describe israel’s condition, especially in isaiah. in chapter 51, verse 3, it says, “the Lord will comfort Israel again and have pity on her ruins. Her desert will blossom like Eden, her barren wilderness like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found there. Songs of thanksgiving will fill the air.”
the unimaginable happens in this verse. the Lord sees the desolation and fruitlessness of the desert and barren places and desires to restore them back to beauty and life, not only that, but as one writer states, His intention is “to restore the waste places of Judea to more than their former beauty and prosperity.” only He could take what is considered to be lifeless and unable to reproduce, and bring more than even physically possible from the sterile ground.
desolation can lead to desperation in the heart of one who longs to see the newness of growth. it is in these times that we must, i must, choose to cling to the author of all our seasons. the ones where winter seems to stay and no budding of the trees seems present. desperation can birth trouble, as in the story of sarai. instead of trusting in the promise that she would give birth (even in her old age), she chose to take matters into her own hands. the result was ishmael and much bitterness towards the one who was able to do what she could not, hagar (genesis 16). the same can be said of rachel (genesis 30). both women, did conceive. in the time He chose was appropriate. His word came through, as it always has and always will.
may we learn something from these women. may we follow a path of choosing to trust in His words and character. may we instead allow our desperation to lead us to a place of submission, of our own will and desires, to the One who gave us the promise. may our choice be one of surrendering. foregoing our timeline and what we think should happen and instead trusting the times of desolation will result in beauty, joy and gladness, in the appropriate time. His time.
in isaiah 54:1, it says “Sing, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the Lord.”
may we trust His words and plans for us, and that His care for our hearts is unlike any other. may we choose to wait and endure the barren times to see what beauty He will bring forth and restore unto us. for it will be more than we can even imagine.