Barrenness: Journey to God's Divine Provision
by Blanche Hudson
Westwood Books Publishing

"Although barrenness is the ultimate humiliation for a Hebrew wife; it is from travail of soul that God births Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Samuel and Samson—from closed wombs that He opened and made fruitful."

Drawing on the stories of five women preserved in the Bible—Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, the unnamed mother of Samson, and Hannah—the author’s book addresses the trauma of infertility from both a spiritual and contemporary medical perspective. Hudson’s concern throughout is for the emotional well-being of women who are having trouble conceiving, whether in a literal or metaphorical sense. She notes that in the Scriptures, God sometimes makes a womb barren initially as a way of signifying that the child to come will be marked by divine providence. Thus, the pregnancy that results is unmistakably an act of God heralding a blessed life. The book concludes with a transcript of a sermon delivered by Dr. Rita Twiggs at Metropolitan Baptist Church in 2010 and with a brief look at the ethical issues surrounding surrogate pregnancies.

Written from an evangelical perspective, Hudson’s book embraces recent scholarly literature on the Bible and expertly places the matriarchs within their ancient Near Eastern context, explaining how men in pre-industrial settings married in the hopes of having large families, and how an inability to conceive drew social stigma. Hudson’s writing is refreshing and marked by a lively curiosity and an eagerness to incorporate a range of expert opinions. Both academic and accessible, her book should appeal to people hoping for an informed scriptural perspective on infertility as well as those seeking reassurance amid private anguish. It is this remarkable ability to teach without alienating, to motivate without being saccharine, that makes this work so unusual, and so welcome.

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