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.