December 19, 2014
To the future mother of Samson, An angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “Though you are barren and have had no children, yet you will conceive and bear a son. . . . the boy shall be consecrated to God from the womb,” Jgs 13:2-7, 24-25a
God Consecrates His Holy ones,
out of their Emptiness.
The Bible is filled with story after story of women who seemed to be unable to bear children. Remember there was Sarah, Abraham’s wife, who finally had her first, and only, child at the age of 90. Then there was Jacob’s wife, Rachel, who eventually bore Joseph, after Jacob had ten other children through another wife and two concubines. The prophet Samuel was borne by Hannah, who was also considered barren. Then today we heard the stories of the conceptions of Samson and John the Baptist, both from mothers who were supposedly sterile. And just like Abraham and Sarah, Zechariah and Elizabeth were pretty old when they conceived John.
So what is it that God is trying to tell us through all of these exceptional, or maybe even miraculous, examples?
Is it that we have got to have some kind of great faith? Did all of those couples just KNOW that God would eventually give them children? I don’t think so. As a matter of fact, Sarah even laughed when God’s messenger told her that she would get pregnant at 90. And that was after she had given up trying, and asked Abraham to have a child through a different mother. So it doesn’t seem like Faith was the decisive factor.
Was it that all these people were perfectly Holy and Sinless? Well, many of them actually were pretty holy. But none of them were sinless, by any means!
So what was it, that all of these stories had in common?
Well, besides the fact that all of those women were barren; that a big part of their lives was empty, and that they were praying for its fulfillment; each of them was also being persecuted because of their barrenness. They were considered outcasts because their sterility was thought of as God’s punishment for their sinfulness. Sarah was chastised by Hagar her servant. Rachel by her sister Leah. Hannah by her husband’s other wife, Peninnah. And both Elizabeth and Samson’s mother were shunned by their communities.
So, is it that if we want fulfillment in life, we have to be persecuted? I don’t think that’s the answer either.
But, IF we can empty ourselves of ALL the other things that SO fill our minds and our hearts with worry and concern; if we can let go of everything – but God, but Jesus and His great Love for us; then we just might find ourselves shunned by the secular world because of our strong faithfulness, because we’re SO “religious.”
But, in our emptiness, God WILL refill us with His Joy, and Peace, and Hope; just as those women’s children, fulfilled their greatest desires.
And those “children” of OUR emptiness: our Peace, and our Joy, and our Hope, will be THE most Holy possessions we could possibly ever have . . .
because they will be Consecrated by God.
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