Pinecrest Bible Training Center

John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone.

Beginning in 2008 the vision and bible school that God so graciously gave Wade Taylor beginning in 1968 came to an abrupt end, falling into the ground and dying.-

We now wait for God to raise up and bring forth His seed of promise in another, that the vision fail not.

Summer 1989
Blessed Barrenness
Peter Newman

"But to Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the Lord had shut up her womb" I Samuel 1:5.

Have you ever cried out to the Lord because of your apparent lack of fruitfulness? You will find comfort in the life of Hannah. Here is not only a beautiful story of the Lord's faithfulness to his hand maiden, but also a picture of travail in bringing forth an anointed ministry.

Hannah was deeply loved by her husband, Elkanah. She, in turn, wanted to bear him children, the fruit of her womb. Isn't Hannah much like ourselves? Deeply loved and blessed by the Lord, our desire is to please Him with a fruitful ministry. However, in sovereign wisdom the Lord closed Hannah's womb to accomplish His own purpose.

Hannah's situation becomes even more distressing. Her adversary, Peninnah, bears children and unmercifully taunts Hannah for her unfruitfulness (I Sam1:6). For years, Hannah endures her own barrenness and Peninnah's torment, but finally her grief becomes unbearable. "Therefore she wept, and did not eat" I Sam 1:7b.

How many of us have had the same heart-rending experience? In the beginning we held such hope in the Lord and expected a fruitful ministry. But the Lord had a different plan and shut our spiritual womb. While others seemed free to pursue exciting activities, we travailed in learning to be still and obey only His voice.

Others had productive ministries, yet we seemed to be doing nothing. Of course, our adversary, the devil, regularly accused us of being worthless because of our unfruitfulness. Like Hannah, we prayed, cried, and misunderstood God's intention. Faced with our barrenness, we were tempted to become discouraged and give up, or to escape by relying on our natural strengths and talents to produce ministry.

But God has provided a better way. "Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? am I not better to thee than ten sons?" I Sam 1:8. Isn't our love relationship with the Lord worth more to us than any ministry that He may give us? Is He not better to us than ten promises fulfilled? Isn't the joy of walking in His presence and knowing Him intimately in this path of obedience worth more than the joys of every promise which will, in His timing, come to pass? Hasn't He led us past the immediate, human joys of promises fulfilled, to the more lasting pleasure and deeper satisfaction of His tender fellowship?

The Lord has a purpose in the closed womb. He shuts our womb from producing ministry so He can open our capacity for more of Himself. And so our time of barrenness becomes our time of being set apart to the Lord that we might truly know Him.

"And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept sore" I Sam. 1:10. When Hannah could carry the grief of her barrenness no more, she went to the Lord. Here is the travail of prayer born from disappointment and broken heartedness. "I am a woman of sorrowful spirit ... (and) have poured out my soul before the Lord" I Sam 1:15.

Like Hannah, we also can go to the Lord in our distress and allow the Spirit of God within us to intercede in our behalf. "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered... because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God" Rom 8:26-27. And so our time of barrenness becomes a time of travailing prayer unto the Lord.

"And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but will give unto thine hand maid a man child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head" I Sam 1:11. From Hannah's sorrow springs forth a prayer of dedication, a prayer forged in the purifying fire of God's testing. She vows that if the Lord would give her a son, he would be wholly dedicated to the Lord. This was just what the Lord wanted. The son conceived from deep travail would belong to Him. For if Hannah had conceived before the Lord had properly prepared her heart, the son would have belonged to her. But the Lord desired a servant wholly given unto Him, to utterly carry out only His will.

Likewise, if we were to conceive ministry through our own natural ability, it would be our ministry and not His. We would have been able to boast, but not before God. But the Lord desires His ministry to be without carnal ownership. And so our time of barrenness becomes our time of purging and purification.

"Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the Lord" I Sam 1:20. Here is Hannah with her closed womb, barren because of God's purpose and timing. Barren because the Lord had chosen something better for her. She was to bring forth Samuel, a man of obedience towards God. Samuel, born from a mother whose travail encompassed years of heartache, from a mother whose motives were purified through years of waiting. In her anguish she cries out to the Lord. Now is the right time. The Lord opens her womb. The son is born.

Samuel, asked of and then given to God. Samuel, raised up to accomplish God's purpose. "Now I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind," I Sam 2:35. Samuel was raised up during a time of spiritual barrenness. "And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision" I Sam 3:1. Samuel was raised up as a prophet to reveal the Lord's glory. "And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord. And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord" I Sam 3:19-21.

And what of Hannah? Listen to her words. "My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God" I Sam 2:1,2. "And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters" I Sam 2:21.

Thank God for His divinely appointed barrenness. Have our desires been purified like Hannah's? Are we ready to bring forth a Samuel, set apart for God's purposes alone? Or will we be like Eli and bring forth worthless, self-seeking ministry like Hophni and Phinehas? There is a reason for the painful waiting. There is wisdom in the barren womb.

God wants to open our womb, but only in His timing and when we are ready to forget our own earthly needs and enter into His purpose. The Lord will use our barrenness to bring us into travailing prayer and holy separation. Then, at the right time, He will raise up His "Samuel" ministry so that His word and His glory can be revealed to a spiritually barren world.

Until then, remain faithful! Is He not worth more to us than ten sons?