In the middle of those intense feelings of barrenness coming up in your face, see clearly the choice to “sing, O barren woman,” or to curl up and die. To press forward in praise and faith in God, or to shrink back. Go through the door that God has for you in those opportunities. By choosing not to go through those doors that God gives us, nothing is gained, and probably something is lost in our character.
Tucked away in the Old Testament, in the prophet Isaiah, this is what Christianity is... “Sing, O barren woman.” The battle to do that in the middle of those situations is probably one of the fiercest battles that there is, at least in our personal relationship with God. You cannot say that you have faith in God, if you won’t walk through those moments with faith. These are the times that really count. See clearly the invitation to “Sing, O barren woman.” Jacob leaned on his staff and worshipped. Praise and worship (the generating of tape after tape after tape, perhaps) really is chaff and noise to God if it is not based on the same worship that Jacob was expressing, because God had touched his hip and he was crippled. But Jacob leaned on his staff and worshipped, in the middle of his barrenness. That is the kind of worship that means something to God.
Given those opportunities, don’t just choose to have faith and to sing in the middle of that just for the sake being a deeper person-because perseverance brings character, and character brings hope, and hope does not disappoint. Not just so you will have more character, although that would be the outworking, which we do desire. But because it really does bring joy to the Father’s heart and it really does honor Him above any other great gift of sacrifice that we could do. That is the sacrifice of praise that we can offer. That is the thing, the burnt offerings that we can offer to Him that are the sweet smelling aroma. Those are the opportunities that we have, over just about anything else that we do - all the serving, and loving and giving. The opportunities where we are faced with the pride of our own worth, and we can just choose to sing Him a song, and to let Him know that we trust Him over our own experience, over the fruit that we see, or lack thereof. Those are the opportunities that bring a smile to His face and joy to His heart; when there is someone on earth that has and is showing faith in Him and in His Son, and in what he has spoken as the truth, someone who is actually putting their weight on that.
What an obscure verse in Isaiah, yet it seems to be a chief cornerstone, or precept to live by, as something that really counts – “Sing! O barren woman.” And as quoted again in the New Testament (Gal. 4:26-27), it goes on to say that the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Gal. 5:6). Turning to God in faith will express itself in loving those around me whom I can see, laying down my life. Ask God for those opportunities to express that kind of faith in Him and for Him.