In the pages of scripture, we find many stories that speak to the same struggles that we are having in our modern life. In the sacred pages, we find several infertility Bible stories. We look to the examples of these women and their spouses for encouragement, guidance, and hope. Issac & Rebekah are the second couple in a dramatic story of infertility that spanned three generations.
God made a promise to Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky. Yet, there was a problem. Abraham’s wife, Sarai, could not have children. They waited and waited. The years passed, and Abraham and Sarah grew old. Finally, when she was 90 years old, Sarah bore Issac. All of the hopes for the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham and Sarah about their multitude of decedents were pinned on one man: Isaac.
Isaac’s Parents Struggle with Infertility
The promise given to Abraham was now safely secured in Isaac for the time being. At the ripe age of 40, Abraham decided that it was time for Isaac to marry. As was the custom in those days, Abraham arranged for a wife from his home country and from relatives back home. Isaac’s wife was the granddaughter of Abraham’s brother.
This arranged marriage is ultimately a love story of divine confirmation and provision. The Bible tells us that “she became his wife, and he loved her.”
Truth be told, Abraham was not that great of a husband. He made his wife pretend to be his sister several times for his own protection. She was almost married off several times. Thankfully, God’s hand of protection was over her and kept her safe.
When Abraham prayed to God for the fulfillment of the promise, it was for his own barrenness that he prayed. Abraham prayed to God in Genesis 15:2, “O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless…” For I continue childless, not Sarai nor them together, be he himself continues childless.
Thankfully, Isaac was a different man from his fabled father.
Isaac & Rebekah: The Fairytale Romance
The story of Isacc and Rebekah is very different from Abraham and Sarah. Issac loved her. Their arranged marriage is a fairytale of divine ordination. This example of infertility in the Bible is softened by the love the Isaac has for his wife. We know that their relationship is not a mistake and that God will bring forth a child!
Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son. The Bible tells us of the servant’s prayer for God’s divine intervention. Lo and behold! The woman who fulfills the prayer is actually from Abraham’s father’s household. This is definitely God at work!
Now one would expect at this point, for the Bible to simply tells us that Isaac married Rebekah and go from there. Instead, we are delighted with a detailed story of how they first met. Let me set the scene for you. Isaac is out meditating in the field in the evening. How sweet and corny is it that he is on a prayer walk when his new bride arrives?!
Rebekah looks up and sees him for afar. She asks the servant about the man she sees walking to meet them. When she learns it is Isaac, she covers her face with a veil to greet him. The allure and the excitement of a first meeting. When Isaac finally gets to them, the servant tells the story of God’s divine intervention and provision.
Issac & Rebekah: Love Bears All Things, Even Infertility
This is clearly the woman the God has chosen for Isaac. This is the first, and one of the few, healthy romances that we hear of in scripture.
The Bible story tells us that Rebekah chooses Isaac and Isaac loves Rebekah. The proof that God’s hand was in this marriage and that Isaac and Rebekah loved each other will be vital as they struggle with infertility.
“And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived.” Genesis 25:21
This husband, who loved his wife, was praying for her. The Bible tells us that Abraham talked with God about the promise but never that he prayed for his wife.
How much of his mother’s struggles did Isaac know? How much more compassion and understanding did he have for his mother when he saw his beloved wife go through those same struggles?
Isaac & Rebekah: The Power of a Praying Husband
The Bible shares the story of the birth of Jacob and Esau immediately after Isaac’s prayer. Yet, the Bible tells us that Isaac was 60 years old when his twins were born.
It took twenty years for his prayer for Rebekah to be answered! Twenty long years of prayer for the promised line to continue.
The promise to Abraham and Sarah was fulfilled with Isaac. Once again, Isaac had to wait, wonder, and pray for the promised to be fulfilled for he and Rebekah. Everyone who heard their stories knew that God was at work in their lives.
Isaac & Rebekah’s Lessons for Us
Your marriage always comes first. Isaac & Rebekah had to of wondered why if they were really meant to be married, they had so many struggles getting pregnant. Isaac’s father was able to have children with his other wives. Isaac never strayed from Rebekah. There is no discussion of finding an additional wife. She was his one and only. Do not put having a child above the vows that you have made to your spouse.
Keep romance alive in spite of your struggle with infertility. Outside of the Song of Solomon, there is not a lot of romance in the Bible. The powerful description of Issac & Rebekah’s first meeting is unique and stands out. Kindle the romance in your marriage even more diligently against the hard winds of infertility.
Pray hard. Isaac was so devoted to his wife and to God’s promise that he prayed for twenty years. Those twenty years go by like the blink of an eye in the Bible. Do you pray for your spouse with this kind of devotion? Each spouse struggles when a couple is struggling with infertility.
Ultimately, God is the giver of Life. Take heart. God gave the command to go forth and multiply in the beginning of Genesis, and He has never revoked that command. Keep praying and listening to God together. May we learn from Isaac & Rebekah and infertility strengthen our marriage and our faith.
God answers prayer, but He may not answer your prayer as He did for Rebekah. Your child might be born in your heart through adoption or foster care. Seek God in prayer, wait, and listen for His direction.
The story of Isaac & Rebekah’s son, Jacob, is the focus of the third generation of infertility. Continue here to read the story of Jacob & Rachel. (Did you miss the story of Abraham and Sarah? You can find the first installment to the Infertility in the Bible series here.)