God has Taken Away My Reproach (Genesis 30:23)

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Rachel had it all. She had looks, a steady hand, non-weak eyes, and the love of her husband.

But there was one thing Rachel couldn’t do: conceive a child. 

Thankfully, my wife and I never struggled with infertility. We have been surrounded by people who have, though, and the experience for them is frustrating, discouraging, and, in some cases, can pose a real challenge to their faith.

Often, the anger is directed towards God. “If God can do anything, why can’t He do this for me?”

Sometimes, there’s a sense that God owes it to them. “I’ve done exactly what He’s asked. Why is He not giving me a child?”

I sympathize with these situations, but I’ve stopped trying to “speak for God” a long time ago. I have no idea why some people struggle to have kids, and others have zero problem whatsoever. Any attempt to explain it on my part is based on incomplete evidence; I’m not God, so how would I know, anyway?

Until this point, Rachel doesn’t seem to be worthy of any pity. She seems arrogant in her disposition towards Leah (although Leah gives it right back at times), but her pain of not being able to conceive is real and powerful. 

That’s why she labels her barrenness as a “reproach.” In addition to blaming God and blaming circumstances, I’ve heard people refer to their infertility in a like manner. To them, it seems like something’s wrong with them.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. I’ve seen people who were never able to have kids of their own be the most amazing adoptive parents on earth. They love their children deeply, and both they and their children are blessed because of the relationship.

In short, I get why Rachel viewed barrenness as a reproach, but I don’t agree with her. We may not know why God allows these types of things to happen to people, but to see how some have handled their infertility has inspired me in so many ways.

I only pray when I’m faced with an obstacle that challenges my faith in a similar manner, I can maintain the faith and hope I’ve seen in others.