Nowadays we have easy access to information – most of it online at the click of a button. However, you must have heard the saying ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’ and unfortunately too many of us have access to just enough knowledge to stir our fears and anxieties, without the understanding to apply it. Too little knowledge can trigger panic or desperation leading to unwise decisions.
Have you ever heard of this phrase – it is statistically more likely for a woman over 40 to be killed by a terrorist, than to get married?! Well, that little phrase has been around for years and was even referred to in the popular film “Sleepless in Seattle”. Where did it come from? An article in Newsweek which was written over 30 years ago, and which was in turn, based upon an unpublished and subsequently disproved study. However, it has lingered in the hearts and minds of modern culture for years and years, contributing to the fears of many single women in their 40s today, that they are unlikely to ever marry.
It may seem an obvious statement but desperation does not lead to wise decision making. Panic is induced by having access to just enough knowledge online and in magazine articles, without having an in-depth and expert understanding of the subject. Have you ever been in a position when you felt unwell – a couple of unusual symptoms appeared and you headed straight to the computer to google it. Three hours later and you had convinced yourself that you had everything from whooping cough to typhoid fever! A little knowledge is a dangerous thing!
I remember months ago, reading statistics online about the rapid decrease in women’s fertility rates past the age of 35. Well, to a single woman approaching 40, this kind of information was toxic. Panic mode set in. I started doing calculations. What was the likelihood of meeting someone in the next few months? And even if I met Mr Right, how long to date? And then to marry? Another 1-2 years at best. In the meantime, fertility rates constantly declining. Each month counts. And all this precious time lost….the biological clock tick, tick, ticking away. Each month passing by begun to feel like a prison sentence – thou hast been sentenced to have no children!
In my desperation at the lack of a suitable partner to marry, I begun to consider science. Surely science could provide the answer? Freeze my eggs. Have a back-up plan. Just in case! I read stories of women who had frozen their eggs in their 30s and later had children at 45. Why not? These are modern times and I am a modern woman. But, even freezing one’s eggs had a sell by date. The longer you leave it, the less likely you are to get good eggs to harvest. The articles recommended having it done no later than 33. Well, that was not an option, I had long passed that age. It all begun to look so gloomy. What to do?
That is when Faith stepped in. A good antidote to the panic-induced fears caused by just a little knowledge. As I prayed over the matter, the story of Lot’s daughters came to mind. Hebrew tradition has it that Lot had 4 daughters – two married and two virgins. When Sodom & Gomorrah was destroyed, Lot fled with only the virgin daughters, the married ones remaining behind with their husbands. Lot’s daughters thought that the world had been destroyed again, as in the days of Noah. They felt they were the only ones left alive. They did not know that it was only Sodom & Gomorrah that had been destroyed, not the entire world. Panic mode set in.
How to have children? How to ensure that the bloodline did not die out? In desperation, they got their father Lot drunk, and each daughter took turns to have sex with him. Each daughter became pregnant and had a son. Each had their desire fulfilled. But let us look at the further consequences of that desire…
One son become the father of the nation of Moab, the Moabites. The other became the father of the nation of Ammon, the Ammonites. Both these nations plagued Israel for years. Israel was the nation of promise, descended from the child of promise – Isaac.
The troubles between these two nations and the nation of Israel, was so deep that that the Lord commanded that no (male) descendant of Moab or Ammon should enter the assembly of the Lord even to the 10th generation. These nations did not meet the Israelites with bread and water on their way out of Egypt (Deut 23:3-4). Not only did they fail to support and help them as relations, they went further and even hired Balaam to curse Israel out of jealousy.
Amazing then, that God still had mercy on them as descendants of Lot, for he grafted Ruth, the Moabite, into the line of the Messiah, through her child with Boaz (Ruth 4:13-22)
However, there was a lot of pain throughout the generations and a lot of fighting and enmity between the nations of Israel, Moab & Ammon. All this could have been avoided if Lot’s daughters had not acted out of panic, based on just a little knowledge. If they had sought the Lord for wisdom & guidance, how differently the story might have been written!
Contrast their situation with that of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, who waited 90 years for her chance for a child. She waited far, far, longer than Lot’s virgin daughters did but she had her child the right way – with the right man and at the right time as part of the Lord’s plan. And that child brought joy and laughter – his very name Isaac, means laughter (Genesis 21:1-7).
If you are reading this and you are on the verge of making decisions, if you have been weighing all the options and it doesn’t look so good, and you cannot see the way ahead, let me re-assure you – go to God and pray. Leave the matter in his hands. Don’t make decisions based on just that little knowledge that you found online or read in books. Understand that God is the author of your tomorrow. He is the Beginning and the End. He is the One who wrote your very DNA. He knows you better than you know yourself and if you will trust in Him, he will give you a far better ending than the one you could design by yourself.