Today’s playful devotion to all things Irish raises the topic of luck. Who’s lucky – and why? We jokingly say it’s the Irish, thanks to four-leaf clovers and leprechauns. But in all seriousness… why are certain people so lucky, and others not? Does luck play a role in ending infertility? If so, how? Does it affect finding the right doctor? Choosing the right treatment? Sustaining a pregnancy? Having a baby?
When confronted with the challenge of persistent infertility, couples often develop a new fascination with luck. They can’t help noticing other couples’ luck conceiving effortlessly. They ask, “what worked for you?” – as if the good luck might rub off on them. They frequently express a desire to change their own luck, and to make it work for them (rather than against them). They’ll come into the infertility group saying things like, “we don’t want to jinx ourselves…,” or “we’re crossing our fingers…,” or “if we get lucky this time….”
I know they just mean to hedge their bets; it’s a form of psychological self-protection. But it’s also more than that. Their behavior reveals an unconscious response to deep fear, rooted in the loss of control.
Fear is a predictable response to not knowing who, or what, is determining the course of events. When those events are negative, and ongoing, their uncontrollability is frightening and destabilizing. Is this just bad luck? Or something worse? Is God in this? Playing what role? Is He for us, against us, or a dispassionate observer? There is an aspect of randomness to this experience. Does anyone know what’s happening? Can anyone do anything about it?
Couples don’t realize that – in the absence of answers to these questions – they’re tempted to default to superstitious, let’s-cover-our-bases thinking: “If we do everything right and nothing wrong, and we cross our fingers and don’t tell a soul, maybe it will work… if we’re lucky [knock on wood].”
For millenia, God has watched people respond to uncertainty with superstition, worshiping whatever they believe will enable them to control their destiny. When He sees us turning to luck and superstition as if they have power, He knows we don’t actually trust Him. Not His love or His motives.
Maybe we don’t believe He hears us and cares – at least, not about this. Maybe we don’t feel safe in our relationship with Him, and so we don’t confront Him for fear that bad will get worse. Maybe we feel lost to Him, or forgotten. Maybe we feel punished and angry. Maybe we are afraid. Maybe all these things. Maybe more. Whatever the reason, we have chosen to struggle on in fear and uncertainty, rather than claim His promises and trust His faithfulness.
Is there any real alternative? Yes – and Job, the Bible’s poster boy for suffering, shows us the way.
After a horrific series of tragic events, Job had an epiphany. He realized that his circumstances did not destroy his faith; it was the growing, obsessive focus on his own perspective (rather than God’s) that blinded him to the truth of God’s goodness, rapidly undermining his trust and crippling his faith.
The same is often true of us. We trust what we see from our perspective: other people are lucky but I’m not, I’m a tragic victim in a heartbreaking story. Meanwhile, from God’s perspective, it looks completely different. From His vantage point, there is cause for hope because He is at work laying the foundation for the miracle He has planned. The facts don’t change — only the perspective. But that changes everything.
We can cling to lucky charms, whisper superstitious phrases and cross our fingers before each set of test results. Or, we can hand our fears to the only one who knows how the story will end, and give ourselves over to peace. Our hearts can only have one most trusted source of hope.
Which will it be: hedge your bets, or trust your God?
Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com