These words leaped off the page of a book I read recently: “When God calls you to do something, He prepares you in advance.” The same day, I read about the Israelites ending their 40 years in the desert and (finally!) heading toward the Promise Land.
I started thinking… What about their journey through the desert was purposeful? How did God use it to prepare them for the Promise Land? And, how does that relate to the infertility journey? In what ways does God use it to prepare us for the “promise land” of parenthood?
The Regional Council of Churches, in its review of Pregnant with Hope: Good News for Infertile Couples, made the comparison, writing…
“This book is a guide for the journey through the wilderness of infertility to joy. I could not help but think of the children of Israel in the wilderness – their transformational journey. The lesson learned was to rely on our ever-faithful God, to trust in His hesed. That Hebrew word, frequently translated as loving-kindness, also means the consistent, relentless, constantly-pursuing, extravagant, unrestrained love of God.”
God kept the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years before they finally arrived at the Jordan River. They passed their turn-off multiple times as they literally walked in circles. Does that sound familiar? Have you covered the same ground multiple times – cycle after cycle after cycle – wondering when you’ll ever cross over to parenthood?
How do you trust the hesed of a God who seems to lead you in circles?
The Israelites learned the answer to that question through the journey itself. Their learning can help you find the path through the wilderness of infertility to joy:
- Look for God – In the desert, God led the people by appearing as a cloud (by day) or a pillar of fire (by night). He taught them to expect His presence, and to look past each other – and their anxiety about reaching the destination – to Him. He should be their focus.
- Follow God – God told the people that He would go before them, and they should follow. He would lead them to the Promise Land. When He moved, they should move; when He stopped, they should stop. They were in a barren and unfamiliar land. They would not find their way by refusing or neglecting to follow Him.
- Rely on God – For 40 years, the Israelites relied on God for sustenance. They had no food or water, apart from what He provided. He delivered what they needed every day – for that day, which taught them to turn to Him and thank Him daily.
- Trust God – Some of the Israelites complained bitterly about the length of their journey and the monotony of their experience. They did not trust God’s purpose or His timing. He kept them wandering until they died off. Only those who trusted God and were grateful for His faithfulness arrived in the Promise Land.
Consider this: God may be using the infertility journey to accomplish in your life what He did in the lives of the Israelites.
If so, you are in the “desert” not because you are being punished, but because you are being prepared. Live into that perspective. Believe that this is a time of purposeful preparation. Apply the Israelites’ learning to your journey — look for God, follow Him, rely on Him, trust Him — and rest assured God knows the way through this wilderness to joy.
He will lead, if you will follow.
For more resources and cause for hope, visit PregnantWithHope.com