Evening, August 28, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“Shout for joy, O barren one” — Isaiah 54:1
Though we have brought forth some fruit to Christ, and have a joyful hope that we are “the shoot which Your right hand has planted,” yet there are times when we feel very barren. Prayer is lifeless, love is cold, faith is weak, each virtue in the garden of our heart languishes and droops. We are like flowers in the hot sun, requiring a refreshing shower. In such a condition what are we to do? The text is addressed to us in just such a state. “Sing, O barren, break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud.” But what can I sing about? I cannot talk about the present, and even the past looks full of barrenness. Ah! I can sing of Jesus Christ. I can talk of visits which the Redeemer has in times past paid to me; or if not of these, I can magnify the great love in which he loved his people when he came from the heights of heaven for their redemption. I will go to the cross again. Come, my soul, heavy laden that you once were, you did lose your burden there. Go to Calvary again. Perhaps that very cross which gave you life may give you fruitfulness. What is my barrenness? It is the platform for his fruit-creating power. What is my desolation? It is the black setting for the sapphire of his everlasting love. I will go in poverty, I will go in helplessness, I will go in all my shame and backsliding, I will tell him that I am still his child, and in confidence in his faithful heart, even I, the barren one, will sing and shout for joy.
Sing, believer, for it will cheer your own heart, and the hearts of other desolate ones. Sing on, for now that you are really humbled of being barren, you will be fruitful soon; now that God makes you unwilling to be without fruit he will soon cover you with clusters of it. The experience of our barrenness is painful, but the Lord’s visitations are delightful. A sense of our own poverty drives us to Christ, and that is where we need to be, for in him is our fruit found.