When infertile couples talk about what the Bible has to say about their situation, there is usually more confusion than clarity. Take this verse, for example:
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
It sounds simple enough, at least on the surface. It seems to say that if you like God a lot, He’ll give you what you want. Sort of like a spiritual Santa. You friend Him; He blesses you.
Couples frequently cite this verse to one another early in the journey, as if reassuring each other of a momentarily-forgotten sure thing. God may be moving slowly, they’ll agree, but He’s going to come through in the end. If you really want something and He knows it, it’s just a matter of time.
But with time, confidence wanes. They’ve claimed the promise they thought they understood, but they’re still childless – and now, increasingly confused and resentful. What’s the deal? Why didn’t God keep His promise? We told Him we loved Him, but still no baby. What’s the trick to getting God to “give you the desires of your heart”?
Ask that out loud, and it sounds selfish. Even manipulative. But, truth be told, this is the question every couple longs to ask: How do we get God to give us what we want?
I can save you some searching; there is no answer to that question anywhere in scripture. Why? Because it’s the wrong question to be asking. It’s a question rooted in a desire for control, made urgent by uncertainty and fear. I’m convinced that part of the purpose of this journey is to move us away from that question, toward a deeper, richer faith life.
How do we make that move – away from a fearful, consuming desire for control?
Start with “Delight yourself in the Lord….” Delighting our Selves in the Lord means shifting our focus away from Self. Away from what we want, what we lack, what we don’t know and can’t control. It means choosing our thoughts rather than being at the mercy of them, and making them God-centered rather than Self-centered.
This is the kind of relationship God wants us to have with Him – one where we find joy in everything that connects us to Him, and everything that reveals Him to us. When we make the shift to this perspective, “perfect love casts out fear” and we begin to experience peace despite uncertainty.
If and when you delight your Self in God, “He will give you the desires of your heart.” That is the promise of the verse. This does not mean He’ll hand you whatever you want. It means, He will place in your heart desires for what He knows is best for you. He will give you the desire to see His will for you become your present and your future.
If you know God’s perfect will takes all things into consideration and plans for the best possible outcome, why would you want anything less?
Begin to shift your focus away from getting God to do what you want, and toward wanting what God intends to do — in you, through you, and for you. It’s the path to peace… to joy… and ultimately, to parenthood.
2 responses to “Understanding God’s Promise”
My heart was greatly encouraged by this. I had been asking the same question: Why does God bless others, but not me? It’s been 7 yrs now and still childless. Now I came to understand that for the past 6 years, our focus was grounded on self-centered expectation. In fact, God should be our primary focus because He knows what is best for us.
As I begin to embark upon my first IVF cycle, I cannot help but remember the five failed IUI’s and one miscarriage I have suffered. In the past, the text “Delight thyself in the Lord…” has left me wondering what is it I am supposed to do in order to have my heart’s desires realized. I have spent countless years trying to be perfect so that I could deserve the gift that only God can bestow and that has left me frustrated and resentful as I see individuals that can have children with little or no effort at all. What are they doing that I am not? Nevertheless, what I am learning is that no matter how much faith I have I cannot change God’s purpose for my life. I must rest in the knowledge that God is sovereign and He knows what is best for me.