Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb. She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.” Genesis 30:22-23
To be barren in Rachel’s culture was to live as one scorned. Barrenness was believed to be a curse, and as one cursed, you were an embarrassment to your husband. This time of disgrace wasn’t a short season for Rachel. While she languished under her veil of shame, Leah, Jacob’s other wife, bore him six children. At one point Rachel turned to an aphrodisiac to boost fertility but that proved ineffective.
Why do seasons of shame and disgrace often span a decade or two? They don’t usually last a year. God appears to be out of the picture completely ignoring the oppressed. While none of us can know the full mind of God, the stories of those like Rachel, Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth give great clues as to God’s purposes. When a wilderness marks a large portion of someone’s life, is God in the process of redemption? The answer is always yes. For Rachel, I believe it was for her to know that God was her miracle worker, her provider. Had she easily born Jacob’s children, she wouldn’t have given a second thought to things like faith and prayer. When she finally did give birth to Joseph, she credited the Lord, not the power of the mandrakes.
I have known seasons of affliction. None of them were short. While precious spiritual things prevailed at the end, the beginnings and middle of these seasons were pretty ugly. I had no clue how to navigate the years.
You may be living in an atmosphere of disgrace. Perhaps you are not the child your parents wanted. Maybe you are not the wife your spouse thinks you should be. How do you survive? Well, God wants to change the heart of your scorner, and he will if they are willing. Many, however, live and die without knowing how to love. Hear this, however! Your survival doesn’t depend on them. It depends on God. Living in the shelter of His wings so that His whispers are palpable is the only security against the barrage of comments coming from the other side of the room. God is your Lover and Sustainer.
I lift each person who is reading this up to You as a small child. Break through the fog of pain to bathe them in Your presence. Amen