Is Easter meaningful for infertile couples? That can be a surprisingly tricky question.
For most people, it signals the arrival of a joyful spiritual season, a candy-filled celebration of spring, or both. The commercial imagery associated with the holiday is innocuous enough: bunnies, flowers, eggs… all signs of fertile, new life. But, for those struggling through infertility, that focus can be a reminder of what we don’t have and can’t seem to achieve.
The resurrection message echoes that reminder – of the lack of life we feel (spiritually), or seem able to create and sustain (biologically). Where is God in this struggle? Why does this journey seem so barren and lifeless? These thoughts add a sorrowful undercurrent to the symbols of the season.
Expressing grief during this exuberantly fertile, hope-filled season can seem, and feel, selfish and self-indulgent. Everyone around us is dressed in bright colors, enjoying the sunshine, celebrating the end of winter’s darkness. Why don’t we join in? Because it hurts. So, we pull back from the celebration – feeling fragile, heartbroken and very much alone.
Should couples struggling through infertility be glad, then, only after Easter’s passed?
Not so fast.
A few years ago, on Easter Sunday, I walked past a tiny church that couldn’t hold more than twenty people at a time. Services were over. The parking lot was empty. The doors were closed. But, the sign out front proclaimed, “God still rolls away stones.” That got me thinking….
In the Bible, the rolled-away stone at Jesus’ tomb revealed good news (despite foreshadowing, not at all what his followers had anticipated). They found, not death as they’d expected, but life. Not cause for grief as they’d been feeling, but for joy. Not defeat as they’d believed they were suffering, but victory!
In an instant, everything the disciples thought they knew and understood about what had happened turned upside-down. This wasn’t the end; it was the beginning.
How does that moment speak to the infertility experience? Just as in scripture, a stone is rolled into place when we conclude it’s over, and hope is dead.
In the midst of infertility, our fear and doubt frequently steer us toward this conclusion. When we agree with these feelings, dwell on negative thoughts, and accept them as “truth,” we allow satan to roll a stone over the hope God has placed in our hearts. Or worse, we put the stone there ourselves. The longer that stone is in place, the deader our hope seems… until hopelessness becomes the new normal.
But God has another plan.
He rolls away the stone and creates a new hope. It is a rule-breaking, expectation-shattering, despair-defeating hope. A God-sized Hope! Hope that is not limited by human understanding. Hope that leaps out of the darkness of our fear-filled hearts and into the light, alive again!
How does He do it?
With a word of encouragement or a scrap of good news. A new protocol. An inspiring book. A “hang in there” phone call. A hopeful test result. A stranger’s blog post. A helpful suggestion. A coincidental conversation. A timely discovery. Whatever it takes to breathe life into the hope He purposefully planted in our hearts.
When we sense and claim this hope, when we trust with all our hearts and do not rely on our ability to understand [Proverbs 3:5], we feel a surge in our spirit: “Lord, I don’t understand, but if You say so, I do believe it’s possible….”
When we say “Yes” to hope, and “No” to fear, we affirm our faith in the God of miracles who every Easter reminds us: I can do anything. Let Him roll away your stone.
Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com