“Give me children, or else I die.” Genesis 30:1.
This was the cry of Rachel, the anguish of the barren. It is the deep, primal yearning for motherhood, the cry of every woman who has natural affection. It is the cry of the true bride of Christ today.
Christians are not supposed to be a barren people. If the church does not reproduce, she dies.
The Desire of God
One of the original commandments to the first couple was to “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish [fill] the earth” (Gen. 1:28). This is God’s prerogative, His intention and purpose also for the spread of His kingdom.
This language of fruitfulness is interesting, because it is the exact terminology employed in the gospel dispensation regarding soul-winning. “I have chosen you,” says Jesus, “and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16).
God’s desire for the propagation of His image in humankind has not abated in the slightest degree down through time. He has placed this same desire into all of His children.
Do you feel it? Rachel did, and it caused her to passionately implore her husband.
When was the last time you were moved to pray for souls in such a manner? How long has it been since you longed to bring forth fruit for His glory?
In Revelation 12:1-2, the church is depicted as a woman great with child, crying out and in travail. This is a good description of those who take the Great Commission to heart. Notice the imagery used here. Crying out, travail, labor pains.
Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. Isaiah 66:7-8.
Whatever else it is going to take for people to be born again, it most certainly will require travail. It is the law of nature that pain accompany delivery. Labor is work, and we cannot get around it.
Have you felt this labor pain? When is the last time you sat up late for souls? How long ago was it that you sacrificed the comfort of home and family attention to attend with singlemindedness to another’s spiritual needs?
A Prime Example
Perhaps there is no greater example of these things in scripture than that of Hannah. She felt this same cry of Rachel consuming her. She would not be content with the placating of Elkanah, who said shamelessly to her, “Am I not better to thee than seven sons?”
Those who know the depths of Hannah’s agony can only surmise the thoughts of her heart in reply to this. “The truth is, no, you are not. You are fine and wonderful, a blessing of God, surely. But you are not children. I must have children, or else I die!”
This same spirit of Elkanah would like to persuade the bride of Christ today. “Can’t you be content with what you have? Just rejoice that you are near the tabernacle of God and be thankful for all of your blessings. The world is a difficult place to evangelize, after all. Not many want the truth and holiness.”
True saints will recognize this for what it is–a call to stagnation, barrenness, and outright rebellion against God’s purposes in the earth. They will fly to the gates of God’s house, where they will lay bare the bitterness of their complaint before the Lord of the harvest. They will not be dissuaded until their great High Priest says to them, “Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him” (1 Sam. 1:17).
Have you ever, like Hannah, besieged the holy habitation of the Lord on behalf of the souls of men?
A Promise in Conclusion
“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).
This is the promise of God to those who take the Great Commission to heart. The cry of Rachel will be answered abundantly for the people who go forth weeping. And it will indeed take weeping! It will take travail. It will take an all-consuming, nearly crushing burden. I must have children. Give me children, Lord, or else I die!
Have you felt such a deep, throbbing love for souls, such that brings forth tears? A desire so fervent and holy that it is almost unbearable? Have you made the cry of Rachel your own?