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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Streams in the Barren

In the barren places.  Barren... what comes to mind?  To me, dry, empty... I imagine a place like the desert, only without any cacti or sandstorms, just dirt.  Kind of like a person without God is here in this world...

This morning I read about how Isaac's mother died.  Sarah had been barren, had known the grief and loneliness of an empty womb.  She had wanted a heir for Abram so bad that she talked him into sleeping with her  handmaiden... then treated Hagar awful for her own actions.  Sarah had laughed when God told her that in her old age, she'd have a baby... and somehow, I don't think it was laughter in joy.  I think it was probably a bitter laugh, like, "Yeah, right.  Whatever you say, big guy." (And these are all my projections on the story.  Totally unbiblical, but how a woman pictures it in her mind.)

Fast forward a few years, and she's got Isaac, her promise child.  Can you imagine how spoiled he was? What a Mama's boy?  He might have hidden behind her skirt tails. I'm sure she kissed his booboos and scooped him up for good night kisses.  She'd want the best for her boy... but she grew old, and she died.

And Isaac got married. To Rebekkah, who it turns out was barren, too.  Rebekkah comforted Isaac in his grief over his mother, and Isaac prayed to God to open her womb.  And He did.  He gave them Esau and Jacob.  Jacob, father of the Israelites... who had 12 sons.  Jacob, from a barren womb.

God promised Abraham he would make his descendants outnumber the stars in the sky.  He also told him he'd be the Father of many nations...and he is.  Abraham didn't always go by God's plan, nor did his descendants, so not all of his descendants were legitimate heirs, because God only has one way.  However, because of Jesus, we have been grafted into that family tree, and Abraham is our father. 

Barren doesn't have to be empty.  I think God hangs out in the barren, looking for ways to make streams in the desert.  He's promised it to us.  Isaiah 43:19, "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."

His grace is sufficient, even in the most barren places. 

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