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Rachel is unable to have children so she seeks other means to ensure that Jacob has heirs to carry on the family name.

Infertility in that culture was considered to be a sign that God was denying God’s blessing. But there are many occasions throughout the scriptures where women, seemingly infertile, give birth later in life to a child who has a great mission from God.

We remember that Abraham, to whom it was promised that he would be the father of many, actually fathered Isaac at the age of 100 and his wife was 90! In the New Testament, Elizabeth is barren when in old age she conceived a son who was to become John the Baptist, the man who prepared the way for the Messiah.

Here we are being taught that patience and faithfulness will find great favour with God and the rewards will be great for those who persevere in prayer.

The apostles too have to be patient and faithful as they are sent out as sheep among wolves. In some places, Jesus tells them they will be accepted, in others he warns they will be rejected. They will suffer humiliation but these will be opportunities to spread the Good News.

Today, when scandal rocks the Church because of the actions of a few in our own ranks, the Godly are fast disappearing and the faithful have vanished from our Church. Those of us who remain must not despair; we must be patient for in the words of the psalmist, the Lord’s promise is pure.

So go out, heal the sick, raise the dead and give as freely as you have received, and do it in the knowledge and joy that God goes with us every step of the way.

Scripture: Genesis 30:1-31:16; Matthew 10:1-23; Psalm 12:1-8; Proverbs 3:13-15