What if one of the blessings of infertility is that it exposes our infertile faith – and motivates us to draw near and rely on the God we’ve been taking for granted. Would it be worth the heartache?
Joe thinks so.
When he and his wife joined our infertility bible study, they’d already faced cervical cancer, several failed IUIs, failed IVFs, surgeries (for both of them), and a miscarriage that occurred shortly after they shared news of their pregnancy with a dying parent.
How did they deal with it all? Prior to these challenges, said Joe, “I was a passive Christian. I didn’t read the Bible. We were going to church, but for me, it was at a very superficial level. I’d go, leave, and put it behind me until the next Sunday.”
Recently, USA Today featured the results of a major survey of young adults. Among those who consider themselves Christians, 65% said they rarely/never pray with others, read the Bible, or worship. The article summarized, “They’re mushy, in-name-only Christians.”
Joe embodied the trend of spiritual sleepwalking – mushy, in-name-only faith that’s nothing like a genuine relationship with God. It’s pointless and largely useless. But, that didn’t matter to Joe until infertility — and all the challenges that came with it — entered the story.
“I had this experience that I’d never had before,” he recalled. “I was in the shower upstairs and I lost it. I was crying. I literally could feel God, hear God, and He said, “You have to be strong.” That’s when I realized I needed God on a more-than-superficial level.” Soon afterwards, Joe and Nancy joined our infertility Bible study.
When couples seek out our group, they’ve often reached their limit. Whether that limit is psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual, or some combination of these – their circumstances have become unbearable. They’ve made as much progress as they can under their own power. Now, humbled by their lack of success and painfully aware of their human limitations, they realize it’s time to try something new.
What can I possibly offer them?
This promise: God uses our circumstances as a “spiritual refining process” to prepare us. Rather than ignoring or punishing us, God is allowing our experiences to mold us in anticipation of the blessing He has planned. The gift that is coming. The child we long for.
It’s human nature to feel desperate when we reach our limits. But when we stop relying on our own ability to bring our dream to fruition, we open the door to a new kind of hope, based on God’s promise and His faithfulness. The same promise-keeping God of scripture continues to work today in the lives of couples who invite Him into their story.
I’ve watched Him work miracle after miracle in the lives of couples who’ve joined our group and chosen to proceed in God-honoring ways. They replaced spiritual sleepwalking with conscious, intentional trust and faith-full decisions. Did it change anything? Yes. It changed everything.
Was it worth the effort?
When I interviewed Joe, now the father of a two-year-old son, for Pregnant with Hope, he summarized his experience this way: “At the end of it, if all that happens is that you become closer to God, it’s worth it.”
Update: In March, Joe & Nancy adopted their second son. They sent an email describing their oldest son’s response to the new baby: “His eyes lit up and he smiled from ear to ear as he asked, ‘Is this my brother?'” They continue to be amazed at the way God has created a uniquely wonderful family to bless the four of them.
Find more resources and cause for hope at PregnantWithHope.com