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Childless, Not Godless

Childless, Not Godless

Editor’s note: Infertility is a painful and oftentimes lonely time to endure. Praying Through Infertility is a new devotional book for women and men going through infertility. This excerpt is for you:

Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. — Luke 1:5–15

Although years had wrinkled their skin, the flame of faith flickered flawlessly within them. Beneath their stricken years was unwavering confidence in the coming of the Messiah. Luke explained that Zechariah and Elizabeth were “righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees” (Luke 1:6). But the record also states that Zechariah and Elizabeth were childless (v. 7).

In some African cultural and religious settings like mine, it’s often believed that the curse of the Lord rests on those who do not have children, or that God is punishing those couples for their sins. Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story confronts this stigma, as they are portrayed as righteous and godly. When people learn that I am a pastor and childless, they often add, “Then you’re not praying enough.” I imagine this callous comment might have been given to the priest Zechariah, too, by those who had never been in his secret audience chamber with the Almighty.

Zechariah and Elizabeth weren’t deprived of a child due to sin or prayerlessness, and the birth of John the Baptist (vv. 13–14) wasn’t a reward for their prayer either. They were chosen to bring a major character into the biblical narrative.

  • Being childless does not mean being godless.

Stories of the righteous are sometimes inked with pain on the parchment of sorrows. God’s approval of our faith isn’t betokened by the gifts He gives us, as even the righteous can be “hard pressed” (2 Corinthians 4:8). Zechariah and Elizabeth enjoyed God’s favor in the midst of their infertility. Whatever the outcome of your journey, know that the pain you experience now isn’t due to a frown on God’s face.

Father in Heaven, thank You for the assurance that my infertility is not a punishment from You. Help me to live as a testimony that Your goodness is seen not only when You are giving me things but also when I have received nothing. Help me to see the tokens of Your grace in the bedlam of disgrace. In life’s storms, help me be calm as You speak peace. Amen.

~ Sikhumbuzo Dube

  • God is not frowning on you.


Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death. Psalm 13:3

After our second miscarriage, my husband, Francisco, and I were heartbroken. What’s more, we were told we shouldn’t try conceiving again for some time. When we finally could, our quest to find doctors who could provide answers — and every month of waiting that followed — brought pain, tears, and at times, hopelessness.

King David expressed similar feelings in Psalm 13. In just two verses he asked, “How long?” four times, feeling like God had forgotten him, the closeness they once shared seemingly replaced by silence and sorrow (vv. 1–2). Yet David trusted God enough to turn to Him again, begging Him to give him light, life, and victory (vv. 3–4). Then, with renewed hope and anticipation, David turned his prayer to praise. God’s goodness and love had been evident in the past, and David was confident God hadn’t changed. “I will sing the Lord’s praise,” he ended his prayer, “for He has been good to me” (v. 6).

When Francisco and I had only tears and no more words, we turned to psalms like this and prayed them out loud together. Praying the psalms this way gave us strength, increased our faith, and even brought joy in our waiting. If you’d like to try something similar, we found these psalms particularly helpful to pray aloud: 3, 5, 13, 20, 23, 28, 42, 43, 61, 63, 86, and 142.

When pain and hopelessness seem overwhelming, and when our own words run out, the psalms can become our prayers. As we cry their Spirit-inspired words aloud, like David, we, too, will grow in confidence and anticipation.

Dear God, how long will You forget us? How long will we wrestle with our pain, our waiting for a baby, and all the unanswered questions? Our Lord and our God, please turn Your face toward us, pay attention to our struggles, bring light in our darkness, and answer us. We trust in You, for You have been good to us.

~ Estera Pirosca Escobar

  • When your words run out, let the psalms become your prayers.

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Excerpted with permission from Praying Through Infertility by Sheridan Voysey, copyright Sheridan Voysey.

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Your Turn

Are you in the middle of waiting for the Lord to answer your prayers for a child? You are not alone. God is with you and He hears your prayers. Cry out to Him and trust in His track record of goodness to you! Be sure to share this devotion with your friends and loved ones enduring infertility and continue to pray. ~ Devotionals Daily