Yesterday morning at Farmdale Baptist Church I continued my sermon series in the book of Romans with a message from Romans 4:13-25 titled “Barrenness and Mother’s Day: How God Used a Barren Woman to Bless the World”. The audio starts after the introduction and Scripture reading, so I’ve included the text of the introduction and Scripture read below.
One of the things that most bothers me most about the way that churches observe Mother’s Day is the knowledge that for many this is a very painful day. Some people don’t come to church on Mother’s Day for this reason. For those whose mothers have already passed, or mothers who have outlived their children this is a difficult day. But it is perhaps hardest for those who, in God’s providence, have been unable to have children.
I think God allowed me to be aware of this when we were not able to have children for the first five years of our marriage. When Gretta had a miscarriage in 1996, we learned that having children is not a given. God is sovereign over the womb and gives or withholds children to whom He wills. I still remember going to the doctor for the first ultrasound when Gretta was pregnant with Haddon. We were so scared that something was going to be wrong that we sat and cried in the car before going into the doctor’s office.
Our middle son, Isaac, was named at the ultrasound that revealed his gender. Gretta, Haddon and Hannah picked the first name, I was allowed to pick the middle name. Little did she know that I would choose the middle name of Watts. The name Isaac means laughter. He is appropriately named. But the first Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah’s old age, was even more appropriately named.
They Called Him Laughter (by Michael Card)
A barren land and a barren wife,
Made Abraham laugh at his wandering life.
A cruel joke it seemed then to call him the father of nations.
A heavenly prank, a celestial joke,
Cause gray hair and babies leave no room for hope.
But hoping was something this hopeless old man learned to do.
Chorus: They called him laughter, for he came after,
The Father had made an impossible promise come true.
The birth of a baby to a hopeless old lady,
So they called him laughter, cause no other name would do.
This morning’s text shows how God made this impossible promise come true, how God used a barren woman to bless the world.