by Lynn Corker
In part one I introduced you to the heart-stopping moment I had several weeks ago:
“There it was, Isaiah 54:1 staring me in the face and sucking my very breath away. The words I never wanted to hear and feared hearing my entire life, ‘Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst in to song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.’”
Really, Lord?! You want me to sing about this?! You want me to shout for joy?! And let’s talk about this “more are the children” thing You’ve mentioned. Hello? You just told me I’m supposed to remain single, so let’s not throw salt in to an open wound by mentioning children, okay?
I’ll bet you can smell the sarcasm and hurt through the words right about now. Clearly I wasn’t taking this call to singleness well, and I had a few issues with not being in control of it.
It’s hardly bearable to remain intact after hearing, “Be single, and burst in to song.” So I did what every other child does when they hear they can’t have something … I argued and threw a tantrum:
“OK, God, so you created Adam and he walked in the Garden. You wanted to find a suitable helper for him. You brought all the animals before him and he named them, but no suitable helper was found (Gen. 3:18-19).
“Then You fashioned a helper from Adam’s bones … You didn’t want him to be alone. He knew what life was like without a helper but now Adam was no longer the only one of his kind.
“So here is what I don’t comprehend, Lord: not for one moment, since her inception, did Eve ever have to know life without Adam. Eve was made to be Adam’s helper and, without him, her purpose in existing seems murky … and that’s how I feel.
“I don’t know what my purpose is anymore. Why didn’t You want Adam to be alone? Why, if I was created as a helpmate, am I not a mate helping? Maybe if Women of the Pearl weren’t in the way, a family would be achievable for me. ”
Regardless of whether I am proud of it or not, this was my reality. The curse became all too real for me in that moment, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Gen 3:16).
Since I am unmarried, I always thought that verse only applied to the wedded woman. I grew to understand that I hadn’t escaped.
Gen 3:16 applies to me because of the desire … not because of the husband. The curse has cast me out of the perfection of the Garden once again and it was time to repent.
“Lord, forgive me for putting my own desires above your will. Your ways are perfect and trustworthy and true, yet I constantly think I know better. Restore to me the joy of my salvation and remind me that you provide for all of my needs.
“This doesn’t mean that my desire is any less, but it does mean that I recognize the need to surrender it to You. Show me how to live with this calling. Guide me in how to bring honor to You from a place of a pure and blameless heart.
“Right now I don’t know how to manage this disappointment. I don’t know who I am if I’m not hoping for an Adam. Show me Lord, how You will fill this desire with your provision.”
If I’m really honest, these are cries from a heart that is learning how to let God put her broken and crushed spirit back together. I reached for my Bible and faced my fear, “What does the rest of the Isaiah 54 passage have to say about this?”
As I scanned the words in the text my heart began to race. All the questions and struggles I wanted to understand out of verse 1, God was addressing in the very next nine verses.
He tells me not to fear or be afraid. He says I will not be humiliated. He lets me know that I am not without a husband, that He is my husband and His love is unfailing (Is. 54:5).
I felt comforted, and even a little romanced. It was gentle, intimate, and completely tender. I do have a husband and his name is I AM.
Despite the comfort received, there was still one part I didn’t get … He said I would have descendants. “How can that be, Lord?” I humbly asked.
The answer came from my friend, Pastor James Odoo, who serves the Lutheran church in Uganda and also assists Women of the Pearl (WOTP) by teaching literacy.
About two weeks after WOTP’s first national conference, Pastor James posted a photo on Facebook of a newly born and baptized child from one of his congregations … she had been given the name Lynn. I comment on the photo and cheekily said, “I like her name”. What happened next was one of God’s ways to fulfill His promise of my descendants.
Pastor James said that some of the conference attendees went back to their villages and had been sharing what they learned. One in the “crowd” was a woman expecting a child. The mother-to-be was moved by the stories she heard and also of the service and sacrifice Women of the Pearl makes to provide them with education.
She wanted to give praise to God for this ministry so to show her appreciation, when her daughter was born, she gave her my name.
“I have a daughter,” I thought. “This child isn’t mine, but because God can do all things, He fulfilled his promise to me about my descendants. This child bears my name and the Lord has blessed my stubborn, ungrateful heart despite me.
“What bigger blessing can I receive through this ministry than to know my service is reaching the hearts of women who are raising their children in faith? I am humbled, Lord. Completely humbled.”
Let’s be clear, I have done NOTHING to deserve that gift. This is not the “Lynn Corker Show” where I lift my sinful name up for all to see; it’s not about me or what I deserve. It’s about the faithfulness of the Lord to in His promises.
My God (my Husband) rescued me through that story. He reminded me that all the desires of this world are meaningless, but growing the kingdom is an investment that lasts for eternity.
I don’t have to resent my ministry because essentially, I am getting all I desire … just not in the same way I expected it to be manifest.
My heart swells with joy knowing this little one will grow up as a daughter of the King, that she has a Savior who finds her worthy enough to give all that He has to call her His own pearl of great price (Mt. 13:45-46). Some day she too may struggle with laying down the desires of her heart, but my prayer is that she will find peace in the Lord.
So I say to you, dear reader, this journey is not over. This is not the last heartache I will feel, and I guarantee this isn’t the last time I struggle to understand my singleness.
My heart stills whispers a hope that I can write to you someday and tell you how my Husband (the Lord) brought about and blessed me with a family, but for now I will “burst in to song, (and) shout for joy” because of He who has redeemed me.
Your journey is not over, either. God wants to rescue you from your greatest fears, from the heaviest weights you carry and from the crushing world that tells us we are not enough.
My prayer is that whatever you need to surrender, that the Lord of Heaven would take you by the hand and gently guide you into a walk that is more trusting and intimate than any you have experienced. That you would come to know the joy of living to serve a God who has no boundaries and can do all things.
A God who knows your name, sees your heart, and cares enough to number the hairs on your head; a God who meets you right where you are at and gets excited to show you His power in your life. May He receive all the glory and honor and praise, in Jesus’ holy name.
If you would like to learn more about “Women of the Pearl” you can like them on Facebook. In addition, St. Luke has generously made Women of the Pearl the focus of their Quarterly Missions this quarter. To God be the glory.