The Children of the Barren One

Whenever I read this passage in Isaiah, I cannot help but think of this ministry I do, all the hurt, wounded, broken, and abused kids who have made their way to me over the last year — most of whom needed just a word or two, but a few have grabbed tight and will not let go.

1 “Sing, O barren one, who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who have not been in labor! For the children of the desolate one will be more than the children of her who is married,” says the Lord.

2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.

3 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left, and your offspring will possess the nations and will people the desolate cities. (Isaiah 54:1–3 ESV)

And so, I sing. For my children, for the children of my heart that God has sent to me. For the children I find — and who find me — along the way.

“And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing.” So said the Lord to old, childless Abram as he sojourned in a land that was not his.

Abraham (neé Abram) never settled down. Never had a place to call his own. And yet… we all — Jews, Christians, Muslims — claim him as our ancestor, and struggle with what God’s promise of a patrimony means to us now.

He is my ancestor. He is yours. His tent is our home. His tent makes us a family. And my tent (such as it is) … is home to souls I’ve not even met yet. Broken human beings who need to know love and grace and healing and the promise of redemption.

My tent. My promise. My people. My tribe. My descendants.

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