"But Sarai was barren; she had no child." Genesis 11:30; These next two entries in our Barren Women of the Bible series will be based on Sarai/Sarah and Abraham's infertility story.
When you're infertile in modern times, just like in ancient times, there are standard culturally approved procedures you can go through. In many cases we shut God out of the deciding process and go with the cultural flow, not even considering His will. The cultural flow back then was shown a few times in scripture: giving your husband your handmaiden, or some other form of polygamy. Not all of society's approved solutions for infertility are outright sin; but sin is the rebellion of going outside the will of the Father and His purposes for you. So anytime we forsake God's counsel we can have similar results as produced by the Hagar fiasco in Sarai's story. And that doesn't just include extremes (at least in half of people's opinion) like divorcing someone for infertility or "getting rid of" extra babies IVF (in vitro fertilization) incurs because your doctor says to. Having a handmaiden bear your husband a child wasn't considered extreme back then, but shockingly is more frowned upon now than the two deathly extremes I mentioned in the last sentence. In Sarai and Abraham's case it wasn't time. Yet they took matters "into their own hands".
Infertility has an "industry" side that will push for expensive procedures, and on top of that there is a huge societal push to 1) feign complete control of your life, and 2) get what you want at any cost (and immediately!) You will also be told what to do about your infertility by about every person who hears of it, from the silly "relax" type of prescription to commanding the course of your life with a perhaps nobly meant, but overstepping command to "just adopt". The steps you take are between you (as a couple) and God. Leaving Him out is perilous!
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Proverbs 14:12 Even if it means to stop trying to conceive for the time being, to step away from the clatter, and to grow close to the Lord at a time when you may feel like walking away from Him. To make decisions and not just be carried along by the prevailing winds, you need His guidance. This means believing on a preeminent (surpassing all others) Jesus Christ and His gospel and obediently...
1) Reading and understanding the bible to "light your path".
2) Living in the Spirit; not "being spiritual" or "spiritual works" or "doing what I think/believe in my heart it right", but submission to the Spirit of God which will never contradict His words and will never point you away from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3) Cutting out the "counsel of the unbelievers", which include false teachers. Which sadly, being the last days, includes the majority of teachers.
4) Praying as Christ taught us to pray, as per the verses starting at Matthew 6:9 for instance.
Once you are living in the Spirit and set on the Father's will, you should be sensing the Lord's "push toward" and "pull away" when life's decisions come up. Many things will require extra prayer. But the alternative is going through life incl. infertility like it's pin the tail on the donkey.
In Barren Women of the Bible: Sarah, Part 2, I will delve into the later years of this couple and the promise they were given.
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