Daily Reflection – October 6th 2020
Infertility and Gods Promises
Around 1 in 7 couples in the UK will experience infertility, some will go on to conceive naturally, others conceive after receiving fertility treatment, and sadly some may never conceive. Infertility is not a new thing; it has always been around, and we see accounts of this in the Bible.
In Genesis we learn about Sarai and Abram, Rev Jane reflected on their transformation last week. In Chapter 15 we hear about how God comes to the then childless Abram, took him outside and said ‘look towards heaven and count the stars if you are able to count them, then said to him, so shall your descendants be’ Genesis 15:5. We hear how Abram believed him
In Chapter 16 we read how Sarai, Abrams wife had still not given him children, now to be childless in those times bore great shame. Sarai had an Egyptian slave girl, Hagar. Sarai took matters into her own hands; she took Hagar to Abram and gave her to him as a wife. Abram lay with Hagar and she conceived. This caused a whole lot of domestic chaos, Hagar looked on Sarai with contempt, and Sarai felt wronged by Abram and then took it out on Hagar. It all sounds like a Biblical account worthy of an EastEnders episode!
Life became unbearable for Hagar so she ran away. Whilst sitting by a spring an Angel of the Lord came to Hagar and told her to return (Genesis 16:9) and told her she would have a son; he would be called Ishmael. Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born!
13 years later, Abram has his transformational encounter with God (See 28th September reflection) In chapter 18 we hear God promising that Sarai would have a son. I just love the image it brings to mind, Sarah pottering around by the tent entrance, eavesdropping on the conversation and chuckling away to herself on hearing that she would have a child, at this stage she is elderly and has gone through the menopause, her thinking was that it would be impossible!
The following year Sarah gives birth to their son Isaac, Abraham was the grand age of 100! We read how Sarah’s laughter changes from the kind of disbelief, I know better than that laughter she had at the tent entrance, to laughter of joy and happiness (Genesis 21:6) We then go on to read, how even in her great joy, Sarah could not cope with Ishmael and Hagar being around, she did not want Ishmael to have a share of Isaacs inheritance and ordered Abraham to cast out the slave women and her child (Genesis 21:9) This caused Abraham great distress, but once again God came to Abraham and told him that because Ishmael is his son, God would make a nation of him also. We go on to read in Genesis 21:20 that God was with Ishmael.
Sarah and Abrahams story could reflect that of many of us. How often does God make a promise to us (not necessarily a child) or we know of his faithfulness but like Sarah, we become impatient and take matters in to our own hands, find our own way to make things happen? Only for it to not feel right and feelings of resentfulness, hurt, anger and frustration come bubbling the surface?
Have you ever seen or heard something, that you cannot quite believe and have laughed in disbelief like Sarah did? I know that I have, but God is faithful and the things that seem far out of reach and completely unbelievable to us, can come into being “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26
Abraham was a man of great faith; he was faithful to God and loved and respected his wife also. There is so much for us to learn and remember from their story. God is a good and faithful God, and He keeps his promises, even when we think we know best and take things in to our own hands, like Sarah did. I am sure we have all been in a position of receiving something we have deeply yearned for, yet still can’t fully let go of the hurt and feelings of the past (Sarah’s resentment of Hagar and Ishmael)
The story of Hagar reminds us that God sees all of us, when Hagar runs away an Angel of the Lord sends her back, this reminds me of the parable of the lost sheep(Luke 15:3-7) and then when she is cast out with Ishmael after Isaac was born, God was with them, He saw them and was faithful to them, He gave them a future that would not have been possible without Him.
I wonder if there is anywhere in your life that you are leaning on your own strength, trying to do things in your time, taking what may seem an easier or more logical option, leaving God out because His timings don’t fit in with yours?
Let us pray
God of faithfulness and love,
We bring before you all of those who have been affected by infertility, we know that you see the tears and feel the heartache as your children grieve for what their hearts yearn to have. Bring comfort, love, peace, and hope into those situations Lord. Give couples the courage to seek help and support, both practically and emotionally, and help those around them to have the wisdom to use words wisely. Lord be with those who are living in domestic situations that may be turbulent, heal the cracks Lord and bring about Peace. We ask for your forgiveness for all the times we feel like we know best and we steam along in our own strength. Give us the humility to seek you will first, to be true to you, as you are true to us. Lord come and find us when we are lost and hols on to us when we are hurt.
In Jesus name we pray
If this has been difficult for you and you would like prayer or to talk to someone, please get in touch.