In Hebrew, the name Sarah means “mother of nations.” Sarah was the wife of Abraham. She was ninety years old when she gave birth to Isaac. Isaac married Rebekah who was barren. Isaac prayed for his wife to conceive and she did (Gen 25:21). Rebekah, as promised, gave birth to twin boys: Jacob and Esau.
The mother of Samson was also a barren woman. She did not pray for a child but was sent a divine messenger to tell her she would have a son – and that his strength would be dependent on his uncut hair. Later, Hannah, unable to become pregnant, prayed for a son and God answered her prayers with Samuel.
Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary, was elderly – long past menopause – and did not expect to become pregnant. But she did, and gave birth to John the Baptist. While Elizabeth was still pregnant with John, Mary became pregnant with Jesus – the most famous miracle birth of all time.
What these stories have in common are that they were all women who became pregnant with divine intervention. Sarah and Elizabeth were both very old women. Each of the women gave birth to sons who grew up to serve critical roles for God and His people.
I believe in miracles. I believe each of these biblical tales is true. I believe God can do anything.
In the Followers, there were a few women who believed themselves pregnant and were not. They may or may not have taken home pregnancy tests. I do not know. I never thought that one of these tests would be controversial, but perhaps some in the group think the use of these are against their religion (or maybe ignore the negative results when their intuition tells them otherwise). In each of the cases, the women were later found to have been mistaken.
I remember a few people in the group – older folks who had physical deformities. One elderly woman had a huge tumor that made her look pregnant with twins. She had borne that tumor for decades, since she was a woman of childbearing years. Her husband became frustrated with her for refusing to seek medical intervention and have the tumor removed. He left the group and divorced her. But she remained in the group until her death.
Years later, and in recent FOC history, this very woman’s daughter who was in her seventies, believed herself to be pregnant. The church midwives examined her and agreed that she was expecting. If you look at such pregnancies in the context of biblical miracles, it is not such a stretch to come to the conclusion that this woman was pregnant with a male child who would have a significant role in this group.
Many folks agreed that this woman was pregnant with a son who would grow up to become the next FOC leader and preacher. But, there were skeptics who did not buy the story. The time came when it was clear that she was not, in fact, pregnant. And this fact caused strife within the group. Those who had believed in the miracle child blamed the skeptics for their doubt, claiming that their lack of faith had caused God to withdraw this child.