Righteousness in the Barrenness

Are you familiar with Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth? They were the parents of John the Baptist. Mom and dad were uncommonly common. He was a priest; they were faithful God servants. Both were surrendered, authentic, and real people. Scripture refers to them as upright in God’s sight and obedient faith followers living the commands and regulations. The Bible terms them blameless. Zechariah and Elizabeth were real people living obediently the faith. Yet in the midst of righteousness, there was emptiness. Elizabeth was barren throughout her childbearing years. This is reality – real life. Here are two very faithful people, yet in the midst of their faithfulness resided barrenness. This is the stuff of which real faith is made. Circumstances, disappointments, or empty spaces didn’t deter their faithfulness, obedience, or blameless walk. They lived surrendered regardless of an unmet life longing. We later discover she’s pregnant in the story. That’s another incredible part of this faith journey. But, for this moment, I want to focus on the righteousness in the barrenness.

Here’s the truth about faith, sometimes you’re going to feel as though you’re living, doing, and being according to God’s call and yet there’s still an unmet longing, emptiness, or desire – it’s something you can not dismiss. Here’s the best advice I can give you. Keep on being faithful, living obediently, pursuing His call and direction upon your life. Live for the intimacy, the knowing, and the being – not the blessing. The richness of the relationship comes in the intimacy and not the blessings. I’ve witnessed some that have fallen by the wayside in barrenness. Sometimes the barrenness can be discouraging, don’t let it deter or interrupt the rhythm of the relationship with your Father.

Some faith traditions claim something must be wrong with you or your faith if you’re not living in a constant state of financial or circumstantial blessing. These folks just need to put a lid on it because that’s bad theology. Don’t waste your time chasing the blessing, but pursue the one who blesses and not for the sake of the blessing. He’s more interested in your obedience – that’s love demonstrated. Live as blamelessly in the valley as you do on the mountaintop. Don’t live a fair weather faith – live blamelessly in the barrenness for the blessing will come. Enjoy what you learn as you wait. God teaches some pretty incredible lessons in barrenness as you obediently follow Him. Zechariah and Elizabeth are a testament.

6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years. Luke 1:6-7 (NIV84)

2 thoughts on “Righteousness in the Barrenness

  1. Justin Hatfield

    Hey Brad. Thanks for this post!

    The reality is that we all hit that point in our lives where we feel that “longing, emptiness, or desire”. It is certainly true in my life.

    What I have found in my walk is when I feel that way, its usually a result of me being selfish…putting my personal wishes, desires and wants before God’s will for my life.

    In my opinion, the only way to satisfy that longing or emptiness is to give oneself fully to God, just like Zechariah and his wife….fully surrendered, authentic and real. At that point, you can live obediently according to the calling he has for our lives.

    I particularly like your choice of words describing Zechariah and his wife: “surrendered”, “authentic” and “real”. One of the things that I think is ever so important in the Christian life today is being authentic, fully committed and living a life of integrity in the Lord. The members of my SS class could attest to this because I think I say something about this almost every week. (They probably get tired of me saying it) :)

    For me, it gets down to “matters of the heart”. Are we willing to give our hearts fully?? Are we willing to put our personal wants, needs and desires aside?? Those are the questions that need to be answered.

    Thanks again, and I’m looking forward to getting to know you!

    Justin Hatfield
    Cool Spring Baptist Church

  2. Brad Hoffmann

    Hey Justin,

    Thanks for the comments. I think you are right on target with the “matter of the heart” statement. I think another part of this surrender piece incorporates knowing one’s heart (in light of His) and guarding one’s heart (in light of the struggles and challenges we face).

    The willingness to put aside the personal stuff and live surrendered and abandoned – It’s something we need to be reminded of on a regular basis. It is real faith.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.


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