I’ve been reading Genesis in my bible plan and always love starting here. There is so much rich gospel truth that I sometimes wish I could just read it over and over (and probably some day I should.) And as a woman struggling with infertility I am in such good company here! Well I guess good isn’t necessarily the term, but there is A LOT of company in Genesis. Starting with Abraham’s generation, his wife and the next TWO generations of matriarchs struggled with infertility. Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel. Isn’t that amazing? In my footnotes of my bible they keep underlying God’s power over the giving of life and fertility. Such a good reminder.
Here’s just a few of the people who have gone before us:
Abraham and Sarah, his wife was barren (Abram and Sarai at this point)
God made a covenant to Abram that his offspring shall be as numerous as the stars (Gen 15)
Sarai gave her husband her slave Hagar so she would conceive on Sarai’s behalf
Didn’t work out so well for her – Hagar conceived and looked with contempt on her mistress
God came and gave them new names, told Abraham that Sarah would become pregnant
When they both heard it they laughed at the impossibility (Gen 17 and 18)
Sarah did conceive and had Isaac (Gen 21)
Isaac married Rebekah
Isaac prayed for his wife because she was barren
The Lord granted his prayer and she conceived twins (Gen 25:19-24)
One of whom was Jacob
Jacob married Rachel and Leah but Rachel was his favorite (Gen 29)
Rachel was barren
Gave her husband her servant who conceived two sons on her behalf
Then, “God remembered Rachel and God listened to her and opened her womb.” (Gen 30)
She conceived and bore Joseph.
Three generations of barrenness. Two whom let their desires become idols and led their husbands into sin by giving them their servants. If you read over these accounts in detail you can see the mess of these families, of these issues… the same sin and struggles and muck we deal with now. And it reminds me of the very, very beginning of Genesis – the curse after the first sin.
To the woman he said,
“I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
in pain you shall bring forth children.
Your desire shall be for your husband,
and he shall rule over you.” Gen 3:16
In pain you shall bring forth children… that’s often said in reference to labor and delivery but I think it can be expanded to mean the entire process of bringing forth children. Not only the physical pain of birthing a child, but the emotional (and sometimes physical) pain of infertility and more – miscarriages of losing babies that you’ve known for weeks, or stillborn babies that you’ve known for months. Frustration, sorrow, pain and heartbreak. Knowing that God is in control sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that suffering and hardship are a part of the curse, that *this isn’t the way it was supposed to be*