Years ago, on a vacation to New Mexico, my husband and I decided to take a short hike in the Sandia Mountains. We were told that the popular trail was well-marked, and so we set off feeling confident. Several hours later, as the sun began to set, we realized we’d made a serious mistake. We’d lost sight of the trail, but kept going — certain we could find it again. Instead, we were now miles from the trailhead with no food or water.
No one knew where we were. It was getting cold, and we were getting scared. So, we began to walk faster. Soon, we were almost running through the darkening woods. I suggested, half-seriously, that we could spell out a rescue message with rocks. My husband pointed out that no one was looking for us, so we’d be wasting precious daylight. We were struggling mightily to control a rising tide of panic.
Not a bad metaphor for the infertility journey.
We set out on what we believe will be a short, safe and enjoyable journey to parenthood. We’re with the one we love, and we trust this is going to be simple, so enthusiasm is high. We’re going to have a baby! But then, we discover we’re off the beaten path. The route everyone else finds so easy to follow has somehow taken us somewhere else entirely. How did we get so lost? We realize we’re ill-equipped for what we’re suddenly facing. What do we do now? Can anyone help us? No one knows exactly where we are – us included. So, how do we find our way out of here? The instinctive response to all this uncertainty is a rising tide of panic. And with panic, comes irrational acceleration.
Peter Block, in his book The Answer to How is Yes, writes that “We treat urgency like a performance-enhancing drug, as if speed will hasten change….” We want to change our circumstances, escape suffering and reach our desired destination, so we accelerate, thinking, “Go faster – it’ll be over sooner!” That impulse led my husband and me to make some reckless choices as we tried to race through infertility. We were rushing, half-blind, through darkness – so intent on escaping the wilderness of infertility, we hardly stopped to think.
“Wait,” the Bible says. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” [Psalm 27:14]. That’s the answer… the solution… the way through this wilderness to the desired destination. We need to realize, the voice saying “Hurry, hurry!” is not God’s. And if it’s the only voice we hear, we’re definitely lost. But, we are not lost to God.
We are never alone or abandoned in the wilderness of infertility. We are constantly under the loving protection and guidance of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Jesus counsels us, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” [John 14:1]. This is the greatest challenge, and the great invitation, of the wilderness journey.
God already knows the precise day and moment when the journey will end. He knows what will happen, and why this experience will have been a blessing-in-disguise. The outcome is assured. Seen from this perspective, we realize the journey is an opportunity for Him to mold us – making us more like the people He longs for us to be by the time we reach our destination: trusting, grateful, God-reliant people.
Can we trust Him? Can we be still and wait with confident hope – focused not on the depth of our fear, but the goodness of our God? The first step to saying “yes” is slowing down and waiting. Only then can we hear the voice that whispers, “…This is the way; walk in it” [Isaiah 30:21]
For more resources and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com