It seems like infertility comes up in at least half of the conversations I’m a part.
Or, someone mourns the death of a dream – what feels like unanswered prayer.
I’ve never dealt with infertility personally. I can’t begin to understand the depth of pain, confusion, and frustration that couples experience. But I do know what the death of a dream feels like. I can recognize the expressions of weariness, longing, and “what’s wrong with me that God doesn’t answer this prayer that I feel like is coming from a pure place?”
I have godly, faithful friends who have prayerfully entered into IVF or adoption. They have dreams, but open hands, desiring to be responsive to God’s leading. They do their part. They are responsible. They read and ask questions and look at finances and trust God. They pray for guidance and clear direction and step forward in faith.
And then, and then…. There’s no pregnancy, or no adoption match, or the adopted child endangers the rest of the family and has to be released to a different home.
And my friends are left asking, “Whaaat? God we trusted You!!! We thought we were following your leading!!!! Where did we go wrong? A + B is supposed to = C! What is wrong with OUR MATH? Don’t you love us? Aren’t you a good God? We thought you were!”
It saddens me when I see people grieving and at the same time, beating themselves up for “Reading God wrong.”
As followers of Jesus we really want to be honest about the desires of our hearts. We also really want God’s direction and want to submit to His will that may look different than ours.
Many years ago, when John and I had been married for a few years and were serving a church in a suburb of Chicago, we began to feel that our time there was coming to a close. We prayed and began to be open to churches that would write John asking him to consider being their pastor.
When I reflect on this time, I think we were as sincere in seeking God’s will as we possibly could be. Our motives were both as pure and as selfish as human motives can be.
We sought counsel from other wise believers. We asked questions. We thought we were listening well, but who knows.
We had interviews with several churches over time and ended up sensing a called to Washington D.C. where John would be the executive associate pastor at a large church. We prayed a LOT about this.
The senior pastor and his wife were godly leaders who would mentor us and became close friends. But other than that, NOTHING was as we expected. NOTHING was easy.
We moved away from our home and family for the first time.
We had no money and moved to the city with the highest cost of living at the time.
I went 8 months pregnant with our second child (the first – Katy – only 19 months old).
We knew no one and moved to a fast-paced, power-obsessed, transient community.
The church, in an urban area drew people from a wide radius averaging 30 minutes away, so we didn’t see the people from our faith community in our neighborhood during the week.
Here’s the thing… We prayed like crazy, but the circumstances didn’t change during the years we lived in D.C. It was just HARD. And it left us questioning, “Did we MISS something, Lord? Is THIS hard thing really Your will?”
I’ll certainly have questions when I get to heaven, but in the meantime, here’s what I see:
- Circumstances may be hard, but God is still faithful. Rest in His character more than you wrestle with your circumstances. During our time in D.C. He knit us together as a family and drew us to Himself in dependance.
- Because the answer to our prayer doesn’t look like we expect doesn’t make it any less a good answer.
Mt. 7:11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.
- God’s will isn’t necessarily the easy thing. It isn’t necessarily the hard thing. He is God. His ways just aren’t our ways. (ugh!)
- God is not a gleeful trickster with ONE right door for us to choose. There may be more than one choice that will be pleasing to Him, and IF we get it “wrong” He can still redeem it. He is the God of infinite chances.
“Once we can accept that God is in all situations, and that God can and will use even bad situations for good, then everything and everywhere becomes an occasion for good and an encounter with God.” Richard Rohr