I usually restrict my blog topics to areas in which I have some level of personal experience. In this post, I am venturing way outside my comfort zone to a topic on which I have no personal experience…and very limited medical knowledge.
In my last post I talked about closed paths. I shared a story of my horse, Knockout, searching for alternate paths home because he didn’t realize the opener and closer of paths was right there with him. Knockout didn’t need to find an alternate path home. He simply needed to wait on my timing and follow my direction.
I used that story as an analogy to show how we sometimes do the same thing with God. Sometimes, I try to help God out by searching alternate paths to my goals, when what I really need to do is remember the opener and closer of paths is right there with me. I don’t need to search out alternate paths. I simply need to follow His direction and wait on His timing.
In that post, I did not give any specific examples (either personal or biblical). The biblical example that came to mind was the story of Abraham and Sarah wanting a child…an heir. They had gone out from the land of their people on a promise that God would give them numerous descendants and a vast land for their heritage.
Years passed without those promises coming to fruition. They remained childless nomads, wandering homeless in a land populated by foreigners.
So, they decided to help God out by finding an alternate path to their goal. First, Abraham made plans to leave everything to his servant, Eliezer, as his heir. But God told him Eliezer would not be his heir and promised Abraham a son.
As more years passed with no child, Sarah gave Abraham her maid servant, Hagar, as a concubine…a slave wife…a surrogate mother of sorts. Hagar conceived and bore a son named Ishmael…which led to strife between Sarah and Hagar.
Eventually, the promised child was born to Sarah…long after menopause…long after she had given up hope of ever bearing a child.
And that vast land promised to Abraham and his heirs? Never in their lifetime did they ever own any land other than a plot purchased for use as a family cemetery. Yet, God’s promises were fulfilled many years later when the descendants of Abraham’s grandson, Israel, were led out of Egypt to conquer the promised land of Canaan.
You and I come into this story as well.
The fullness of God’s promises to Abraham and his seed was realized in Abraham’s descendant, Jesus Christ. Through covenant relationship with Jesus Christ, you and I are invited to become heirs of the covenant God cut with Abraham.
God’s promises to Abraham and Sarah were much broader and deeper than they could have imagined. His plans for their lives were much fuller than their own limited vision. While they were stressed over a child not being born soon enough, God was already working out the redemption of the human race through the faith of Abraham and Sarah. Although their faith sometimes looks pretty fragile and limited from our perspective, God used it for His glory and to work His purposes through their lives.
This morning, I am reading a book titled, “The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules,” by Carolyn Custis James. Thus far, it is a very well written book in which Carolyn James does an excellent job of lifting the veneer of theology through which we tend to view this familiar Bible story, to help us see the depth of human tragedy…the grievous loss and sorrow through which God works out His story in the lives of ordinary people.
This morning, I read these words, “Medical charts of barren women in the Bible bore this cryptic notation, ‘The LORD had closed her womb.’”
As the import of those words registered, my mind flashed to my previous post about God being the opener and closer of our paths, and the need to follow His direction and await His timing. Simultaneously, I was reminded of the story of Abraham and Sarah…and the fact that their story of infertility was the beginning of a much broader and deeper purpose than they could have imagined.
I have never personally experienced infertility. I have wept with and prayed for friends who were experiencing this sorrow. I have seen God perform mighty miracles. I have watched as children born to couples on the verge of giving up have grown to adulthood as godly men and women. I have witnessed bureaucratic red tape miraculously resolving for adoptions to go through. And I have witnessed couples finding contentment in a life with no children of their own.
Every story is deeply personal…and every story is unique.
If you are facing infertility, my message for you, today, is simply that God knows. God knows your pain. God knows your sorrow and frustration. God knows your hopes. God knows the deep desires of your heart…and God knows His plans for bringing the fulfillment of those desires to fruition in your life.
For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)