Blessed Are the Barren-The kingdom of God springs forth from the empty womb.

I know this looks like a long post. I even edited it A LOT but it is fantastic!! I think so because I am the recipient of a miraculous birth and a miraculous adopted child. BUT if you are interested in adoption or care what we as adoptive parents feel or think, I recommend you read these excerpts AND go to the link and read the entire article.

I read it twice and highlighted some stuff.

I cried while reading it. It really spoke to my heart.

Blessed Are the Barren
The kingdom of God springs forth from the empty womb.
Sarah Hinlicky Wilson posted 12/07/2007 09:21AM

... God's next miracle after this boy is a greater one, so great that he gladly permits the surprise and even the modest challenge of the mother. She is a virgin, not a wife; she is young, not old; she has no precedent before her. The child will take his flesh from her and yet not be hers, for he is begotten of the Father and conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. His name will be Jesus.

Jesus' cousin, John, the last son born to the childless, prepares the way. He is the prophet of the Most High. But John, whose praise his father sings, is a son to break your heart. He goes to the desert, eats locusts and wild honey, wears camel hair, never comes home, angers everyone, points to the Messiah, decreases, and loses his head to the wicked king. Elizabeth and Zechariah deliver their long-awaited son to the world, and are never heard from again. They begin the gospel, and in so doing they end the old covenant of sons for the barren.

When love does not bear fruit

My husband and I are barren. Some people, on hearing the news, want to know which of us is to blame. There is precedent for the question. The Scriptures always identify who is at fault. Sarah is too old, the Shunammite woman's husband is too old, too; Rachel and Hannah and Manoah's wife are simply cursed with closed wombs. One person of the pair is always responsible.

But we challenge Scripture with Scripture. Genesis 2 declares husband and wife to be one flesh. It takes two people, a man and a woman, joined in one flesh, to make a baby. Asking which of us is "responsible" for the barrenness suggests that one of us could procure a baby by a method not involving the other—requiring first divorce or death. The implied rupture in the one flesh of our marriage renders the question meaningless. We cannot have a baby. No other marriage is under discussion here.

....We are a big mistake. We are an abomination in nature—we exist pointlessly because we cannot make more of our species. We are an abomination according to the charge of Genesis, because we cannot be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. Our love does not bear fruit.

Blessed are the empty wombs

Twenty-three chapters later, John is dead, and Jesus is on his way to being dead. He has fed the five thousand, healed the sick, stilled the waters, and most miraculously of all, taught with authority. His words are God's words.

The Pharisees and scribes rage at these words. But the crowds throng Jesus and beg for more. He gives them more. In her enthusiasm at his words, a woman in the crowd cries out a blessing.

"Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!" Happy the woman who is your mother. Sad that there could be only one of her. But Jesus turns the blessing aside. He redirects it. "Blessed rather," he says, "are those who hear the Word of God and keep it." His mother is not exempt from the blessing so long as she hears the Word of God. Her womb and breasts are no guarantee— not even for the mother of the Lord.

...But now Jesus is pursuing the road to the cross with just a few hearers of the Word of God to keep him company. At his footsteps follow the mourning women. They have run out of blessings to bestow on him and on his mother's womb and breasts. So Jesus turns and bestows blessings of his own. He says:

Daughters of Jerusalem,do not weep for me,but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say:Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!Then they will begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us,and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do this when the wood is green,what will happen when it is dry?
Luke 23: 28-31, New Revised Standard Version

'Here's your son.'

...Having a child by adoption is not nearly as much fun as having a baby by conception. There is certainly a lot more paperwork involved. There are blurry photos of a little fat blob who is in some theoretical but increasingly legal way your own. There is a flight, a hotel room, and suddenly someone puts this kid in your arms and says, "Here's your son." I don't know what the delivery room is like, but I suspect that seeing a baby squirt out of your own body isn't even quite as surreal as collecting your baby in a hotel lobby, no fanfare, no blood, no labor, no kicking, no sonograms, nothing to signal the cosmic sensibleness of the child in your arms being yours.

Adoptive parents do not believe in coincidence; they can't afford to.

The new family

... To Paul, all the facts of his birth are rubbish. Birth does not matter anymore; adoption does.
When Paul tells us that Jesus was born of a woman, he does so only to lead us to the far more critical point: Jesus was born of a woman that we might become adopted sons of God. When we are adopted, we have the Spirit of the Son, and the Son cries for us in our hearts, "Abba! Father!" Before adoption, children of our own birth, we were only slaves. Now, after adoption, we are sons, and heirs. There is no more rejoicing over the birth of a promised son as in the old covenant, because now there is the adoption of sons in the new. In the old covenant, no daughter was wanted, or given. In the new covenant, there is not only no Greek or Jew; there is also no male or female. "Sons" means "daughters," too. Together they will prophesy, as Joel predicted and Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit of adoption arrived. In this new covenant we live not by blood but by promise. We live by faith and not by works of the law. ..

..And so Isaiah sang, and Paul quoted, "Rejoice, O barren one who does not bear; break forth and cry aloud, you who are not in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than those of the one who has a husband."

...But what of the many nations? What of the stars in the sky? Paul the Jew is faced with the same grief as a childless father. His love for Christ is not bearing fruit. The Jews do not believe. They are turning away even as the Gentiles are grafted in. Many children are adopted, but the children of the flesh turn away. Abraham, father of Isaac, never imagined how God would keep his promise. For Abraham's family grows not from Isaac's offspring, in the end, but from the nations, the uncircumcised. It grows from adoption, not from birth.

...And so all this time, hidden behind the covenant of sons for the childless, another story has played itself out. It is the story of the three great prophets, Moses, Samuel, and Jesus—all adopted.

Moses, the hope of Israel enslaved in Egypt, was not raised in the heart of the community. He was pulled out, set aside, raised among people not his own, a son to Pharaoh's daughter. This adopted child was the one to lead the way from bondage to freedom. And the boy who was the answer to barren Hannah's prayers left his mother's arms to be raised by Eli, whose own sons of the flesh ran wild and faithless. Samuel was the prophet called from his childhood to anoint Israel's kings.

Jesus, the new Moses, is the natural-born, only-begotten Son of God, but he is not the natural-born son of Joseph. Yet he must be Joseph's adoptive son. Two Gospels trace at great length Jesus' genealogy through Joseph, even while they both insist that Joseph played no part in Jesus' conception. Matthew starts with Abraham, moves fourteen generations to David, another fourteen to Jeconiah, and a final fourteen to Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. Luke moves in the opposite direction, starting with Jesus at the age of thirty, "being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph," through many sons and fathers, until the end when we reach "Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God." Through adoption Jesus is the son of David and heir to the kingdom.

The genealogies are pointless unless adoption matters; unless it is real; unless the ingrafting really happens.

And Paul discovers it to be so. The baptized Gentiles really do belong to Israel. They belong so completely that they cannot be compelled to keep the law. They cannot be forced into circumcision as if it were the true source of the relationship. The Spirit of the Son calling on the Father alone makes the adoption efficacious. And so the church cannot be a family based on blood. And the church must be more important that any family based on blood. Family is not family anymore. Church is family instead.

Living in the end times
We have a photograph of our son's mother. Not me; the mother who carried him in her womb and gave birth to him....The child I lost is only the child of my imagination: too perfect, or rather too much an imprint of myself, to be real. The child she lost is flesh. He calls someone else mama.
Adoption always begins with at least one tragedy and sometimes two. The parents who can have the child don't want or can't keep the child. The child always loses them. The parents who do want a child often can't have a child. The child they end up raising is not theirs alone. Their joy comes from someone else's grief. Adoptive parents are in the strange position of having to wish their own family not to be necessary, not dependent on someone else's destitution. For who could have expected to love the child of another's womb so much? Who could have expected that her child would become my child, so completely, so certainly? There is no doubt that adoption is a matter of bringing good from evil; the danger is in consequently justifying the evil, rather than overcoming it.

The truth is, adoptive families are born from pain, just as the church family was born from the pain of the cross. Pharaoh's daughter and Eli and Joseph are not the only adoptive parents of the Bible. So is the most praised "biological" mother of all, Mary, the lady of sorrows, who had to relinquish the son of her flesh, her boy Jesus, to his death on the cross. She loses this son, but she gains, she adopts, another—the disciple whom Jesus loved. And in so doing she is only mirroring the act of the Father in heaven, who gave his only Son to Mary in the first place, so that the sons and daughters of this world might not perish, but have eternal life, and become the church of his adopted children.

So an adoptive family looks more like the church than a biologically formed one. It is not a private circle of blood, but a mixed bag of unrelated persons living together... We are not only different sexes but different families, ethnicities, races..

And so the barren, and the adopted, and the adoptive, live in the middle of an apocalyptic blessing. It is an uneasy way to live before the end has come. There is always something of a reproach in it, to ourselves and to others. It constantly asks us whether we believe in the resurrection of the dead...

Barrenness inspires fear. How shall we live on when we are dead? We cannot hide our disbelief behind our children, or behind the inanimate children of fame and fortune and names spoken centuries into the future. We know, in a way biological parents do not, that our children are not our own. And yet, in knowing that, our disbelief is exposed, and we are drawn back to faith again.

Blessed are the barren.

Sarah Hinlicky Wilson is the pastor at St. John Lutheran Church in Trenton, New Jersey, and the editor of Lutheran Forum.

Read the entire article HERE


Anonymous said…
Thank you for this wonderful article. I have been married for a number of years and also share the story of barrenness from children of my own, however over the years the lord has shown me that his path and his plan are the right one.
Anonymous said…
WOW!!! "Church is family instead" WOW! I am in awe, I will read this over and over again

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