Sing

July 28, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Sing, O barren woman, Sing”. Isaiah 54:1. 

I think this verse applies to more than childlessness. I know that it does hold special meaning to those who are childless, who plead with God to bless them with a sweet little one to cherish. The verses go on to talk about how God will bless this barren woman, with numerous descendants, and He will be her husband. 

I love that this verse is directed to women. I think so often in the bible, women have to insert the “she” or “her” in place of the “he” and “him”. The bible is filled with men of God, and I’m sure due to cultural norms they only referenced the male gender when talking about the words of God. I know that in most cases it wasn’t a disrespect of the feminine race, but more of a Hebrew class thing.

But I also know that God cherishes women. Sometimes I think it makes even more of an impact that the stories and blessings of women are less frequent than those of men. The stories of strong women of God are well known, because they are few. The blessings of women are so cherished because they are scattered so intermittently throughout the text.

And this is one I cherish. Here’s the whole, lengthy, chapter:

 

“Sing, barren woman, 
    you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy, 
    you who were never in labor; 
because more are the children of the desolate woman
    than of her who has a husband, ”
says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent, 
    stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back;
lengthen your cords,
    strengthen your stakes. 
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations 
    and settle in their desolate cities.

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. 
    Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
You will forget the shame of your youth 
    and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 
For your Maker is your husband —
    the Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; 
    he is called the God of all the earth. 
The Lord will call you back 
    as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—
a wife who married young, 
    only to be rejected,” says your God.
“For a brief moment I abandoned you,
    but with deep compassion I will bring you back. 
In a surge of anger 
    I hid my face from you for a moment,
but with everlasting kindness 
    I will have compassion on you,”
    says the Lord your Redeemer.

“To me this is like the days of Noah,
    when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. 
So now I have sworn not to be angry with you,
    never to rebuke you again.
10 Though the mountains be shaken 
    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken 
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

11 “Afflicted city, lashed by storms and not comforted, 
    I will rebuild you with stones of turquoise,[a] 
    your foundations with lapis lazuli. 
12 I will make your battlements of rubies,
    your gates of sparkling jewels,
    and all your walls of precious stones.
13 All your children will be taught by the Lord, 
    and great will be their peace. 
14 In righteousness you will be established: 
Tyranny will be far from you;
    you will have nothing to fear. 
Terror will be far removed;
    it will not come near you.
15 If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing;
    whoever attacks you will surrender to you.

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith 
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail, 
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.”

Kind of awesome right? That this blessing and promise of the Lord starts by speaking of a woman? Yeah, yeah I know it’s Israel. But I also know that God loves every generation, and He had to know in His infinite wisdom that someday, in the 21st century, women would read this and hold it close to their hearts.

As I was saying, I don’t think this only applies to the childless woman. Whatever are in life, whatever barrenness you feel, I find this verse very appropriate. Loving. Comforting. 

I’ve been struggling this past few months with barrenness. Not of the childless kind [although I do have a vacant womb. But at this point that’s more by choice :)] but of the lonely kind. I’ve spoken about this before, but after leaving college I found that I was missing the camaraderie and friendships I had formed there. I have always loved having women surrounding me, women I can talk with and laugh with and share with. I believe this is a God given blessing in women’s lives. Weekly bible studies, long talks, trips to the mall, volleyball matches…The last few years of college especially were filled with wonderful friendships (women and men) that I cherished. And upon moving back home, I’ve found that there is a void within me where that use to be. I’ve found it difficult to create new friendships, found it difficult to find those of similar mind to forge relationships with. 

This has worn on me. It has made me question my abilities, my personality, and my life decisions. Why would God bring me here, and leave me without friends??? I was angry and depressed and torn up.

But over the last month or so, I’ve really tried to connect with my savior, to pray about this issue and discover God’s purpose for me. It hasn’t been easy. I think God calls us to look ahead, not behind. To think about OUR purpose, not long for someone else’s. There have been set backs, and days where I just cry out to God, “Why? Why is this the way that it is? What do you want from me?” 

And sometimes God is silent. Or I am so anguished I don’t hear Him. But then somedays I do. And today, I have. And today, God placed, for whatever reason, this verse upon my broken heart. 

When I look behind, or get lost in my despair, I’ve tried to especially count my blessings. My family, the friends I do see, my sisters, my husband. Sing. Sing O barren woman, Sing. 

Solomon writes about for everything there is a season. Joshua heard from God to be courageous. Jeremiah writes his call from God, God’s plan to give him a future and a hope. All these things combine to remind me that God has a plan. He, in His wisdom, has led me here. To this place. Has provided me with the blessings I have, and he has NOT forgotten me.

Though the mountains be shaken 
    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken 
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.

God has compassion on me. He will not remove Himself, or his covenant of peace, from my life. God will forge my life, He is in charge. The chapter speaks of God coming back to His people. God as the creator. His love for us is not shaken.

Whatever season of life I’m in, may I see God’s hand. I think back on my life, of all God has brought me through, and know that for everything there is a purpose. There is a purpose for this as well. God will not leave me, He does not forsake His children. He hears our cries for help, and has compassion. And while I am here, I will sing. 

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