To The Couple Suffering With Infertility
Did you know that there are seven couples listed in the Bible who experienced infertility?
1) Sarah and Abraham:
- Genesis 17:16, 18:10-12, 21:1-7
- Hebrews 11:8-12
2) Rebekah and Isaac:
- Genesis 24
- Genesis 25:20-28
3) Rachel and Jacob:
- Genesis 29:31, 30:22
4) Manoah and his Wife:
- Judges 13
5) Hannah and Elkanah:
- 1 Samuel 1
- 1 Samuel 2:1-10
6) The Shunammite and her Husband:
- 2 Kings 4:8-17
7) Elizabeth and Zechariah:
- Luke 1:5-80
Two of these women, (Sarah and Elizabeth), had already seen Menopause come and go. They were no longer producing eggs, no longer having their menses. Both of their situations were completely hopeless!
But as we know, God does some of His best work with "hopeless".
Sarah was 90 and Elizabeth was 45+.
Yet, age notwithstanding, God had promised... and He never goes back on His word!
God caused them to wait longer, not only to enhance their faith in Him, but also to show His goodness and His unfathomable ability to create something out of nothing!
Not only could He make something that was highly improbable happen, (conceiving when barren), but He waited until it was absolutely impossible! Conception was literally not an option for these two ladies.
Nonetheless, Isaac and John eventually filled two empty cradles and four hurting hearts.
However, two more hurting ladies, (Rachel and Hannah), never received a promise of any kind that they would be granted children:
Hannah sat by helplessly on the sidelines as Peninnah gave her husband many, many children. The Bible tells us that Peninnah provoked and distressed Hannah so greviously about her barrenness that Hannah could not even eat. Instead, she ran off to the temple to pray and cry. This is the broken state that the priest Eli found her in. After they spoke, he sent her off with his well-wishes, but never a promise.
Rachel watched on as her sister, Leah, gave her husband seven children! How hurtful that must have been for her. How forgotten she must have felt by God!
Yet, still, He heard their cries for mercy and filled their empty arms with babes.
Even though your heart grieves and breaks during this waiting process, God still knows what He's doing. Isaiah 30:18-19 tells us this:
"For this reason the Lord is ready to show you mercy;
He sits on His throne, ready to have compassion on you. Indeed, the Lord is a just God;
all who wait for Him, in faith, will be blessed.
For people will live in Zion;
in Jerusalem you will weep no more.
When He hears your cry of despair,
He will indeed show you mercy;
When He hears it, He will respond to you."
God doesn't always give us a personally crafted promise with our name on it to cling to, as most of us would never bother to exercise our faith if we already knew that our heart's desire was in the works and on it's way to us.
So whilst you may not have been visited by an angel or a prophet bearing a long-awaited message straight from our Precious Lord's lips, you can (and you must) rest assured that you have still received a promise from Him, nonetheless:
That He is merciful.
That He is compassionate.
That He hears your cry of despair,
And that He will respond.
Whether purposeful or done unintentionally, I think that we humans are naturally inclined to try and put the qualities of God in self-made, isolated compartments.
You know: God is good, God is loving, God is merciful, God is just, etc., (which He certainly is all of these things... and so much more!) but in our limited human understanding, we form our definitions of what goodness, love, mercy and justice look like and place our expectations of Him, based on those definitions, inside of these boxes, protected with an endless supply of bubble-wrap. Then we seal it up tightly because we've reached our limit of understanding; leaving no room for anything else to be added to it.
So when life inevitably happens and God works outside of the criteria we have set for Him to meet in order to still be perceived as good, loving, merciful and just in our eyes; we suddenly begin to question or doubt our entire belief system! It shakes the foundation, the very core of our faith because we built that faith on our own understanding and expectations. We say, "He didn't act in a way that displays my definition of love. Therefore, God is no longer loving. In fact, He's mean!" then so on and so forth.
But, friend, we don't see what He sees. Can't understand all that He knows. Yet, because we perceive this event, this occurrence, as mean-spirited actions against us, we turn away from Him. At the time when we need Him the absolute most, we walk away in search of the next best thing to fit our standards. But we will never find it. Because that is self-made faith.
In doing this, we miss out because what we couldn't see through our bitterness and grief was Him hard at work, fashioning our future joy in the background.
If you don't take anything else I have said to heart, please know this: God is not the one who makes horrible things happen to us. When He created man, He never intended for us to be touched by death, grief, pain, sorrow or despair. He created only good for us - because He is all good - and things remained that way until man brought sin into the picture. Death, grief, pain, sorrow and despair were all consequences that were introduced as a direct result of our sin.
When the human heart broke God's heart.
Yes, life throws horrible trials at us sometimes and it is so easy to get our focus off of Him and to go in search of the quick fix to our pain, rather than waiting for Him to bring our healing about. But if we will just exercise patience, we will someday learn that what we may have perceived as Him not loving us, was really Him loving us in the best possible way imaginable the whole time!
When we are crying for mercy from within the deepest pit under the lowest valley, it is excessively easy to feel forgotten. Cast aside. Alone. Unloved.
But dear one, He could never forget you. The love that He has for you and the value that He has placed upon your life is so much greater than anything you can even imagine! (I truly mean it).
I know that we hear this phrase so often in the Christian community that sometimes the weight of it can be lost on us, but it is so true. You absolutely cannot even begin to fathom the depths of His great love for you. The lengths that He has gone to in order to see you well taken care of:
He knew you before you even began to form within your mother's womb.
Had your joy and happiness foremost in His thoughts before you ever gave your first toothless grin.
Already had a plan for your life before you took that first tottering, wobbly step.
Wept over your hardships and sorrows before you even knew that you would one day face them.
The Bible says that He has your tears stored in a bottle. I believe His heart breaks whenever His eyes or His thoughts travel to that bottle.
Your pain is His to share.
Take comfort in His love. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate you from it. No matter how angry you may feel over yet another negative test. Regardless of how you question Him at night as you lie awake in bed with your dark and lonely thoughts tormenting you. He already knows. Has heard the questions you're asking, even if you've never voiced them aloud - it's no surprise to Him.
And still, He loves you.
And still, He is good.
Dear one, never give up hope. Never lose faith. After all, what is faith except believing in and hoping for something your eyes cannot see?
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
- Hebrews 11:1
He longs to show you mercy. The wait, although hard, will someday be SO incredibly worth it.
"Sarah said, 'God has blessed me with laughter and all who get the news will laugh with me!'"
- Genesis 21:6, MSG
Even Jesus' coming - the greatest story ever told - while it had absolutely nothing to do with infertility, is still the account of a baby's birth.
A very long-awaited baby.
Christmas, an entire Holiday, is devoted to celebrating and remembering the joy that all of the heavens and the earth felt those many years ago when, at last, He came! That alone tells us that He was so desired. Hearts desperately longed for Him.
Although it wasn't a barren womb that ached for Him year after year; many hearts still yearned. The whole earth held its breath, standing on the precipice of deliverance: waiting and waiting and waiting. His coming gave them hope, the fulfillment of prophecies passed down from generation to generation. He is who we must always turn to for our hope!
Infertility is utterly and completely horrible, (I know the grief, hurt and feelings of powerlessness firsthand, as my husband and I are entering our fourth year trying to conceive and still... no baby). My friend, if you're not careful, the bleakness can consume you. The devil is a opportunist and if he finds this "chink" in your armour, he knows exactly where to fire to send your life spiraling into chaos and deep, dark depression; turning your eyes away from God. Please, I beg you; don't give him that chance.
Find your joy, instead, in Christ.
While we may not be receiving our greatest heart's desire right now, (Which is devastating and feels incredibly unfair. Believe me, I know), there is still so much to love Him for, besides! He is your peace. He is your Savior. The giver of, literally, everything you have! He is your protector in dangerous and harmful situations. Your comfort in times of unyielding sorrow. He is the warrior who is, even now, in this very moment, fighting your battles!
What a Savior! What a kind and loving Father!
What a privilege it is to be a lump of clay being molded and shaped into a beautiful vessel by His very own hands!
The Bible tells us in this passage, "Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act." - Psalms 37:3-5, ESV.
Find your hope in Him, dear friends, and you will never be disappointed. You may have to wait. You may have to endure. But as David said so beautifully; "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor His seed begging bread." - Psalms 37:25, KJV.