Six months ago, the LORD laid on my heart the need to write this. You’ll know when you read it if God nudged me to re-run it for you….
In the midst of infertility, uncertainty frequently begs the question, ”Why is this happening? Why to us? Why now?” There is a deeper, much more painful question that many people struggle to avoid: “Is this my fault? Is this happening because of what I did?” It is a worry laced with fear – and often, long-buried guilt. It is virtually never voiced because the one who is desperate to know the answer is also desperately afraid to hear it.
When Angela and Sean tried to start a family, they encountered a series of unexpected hurdles. “We thought — like everyone else — you get off birth control, wait six months and ‘boom’ you get pregnant,” remembers Angela. “But I wound up in the ER with an ectopic pregnancy, then a cyst, then surgery for a closed tube, and then a miscarriage….”
Frustrated and worried about their lack of success, they tried to make sense of things. Sean admits, “My first thought was, ‘Crap, we were on birth control for ten years.”
Angela’s fears went deeper: “Maybe we weren’t letting God work in His way and that was why we had infertility.” They tried IVF and failed. “Maybe we didn’t let it happen naturally and so this was my punishment,” she reasoned. She began seeking answers in terms of deserved consequences. “I was asking myself, ‘What did I do wrong before marriage, or during marriage…? Why is this happening?’”
She didn’t know it, but Sean was also finding fault in his past. “I grew up Catholic, but when I was 16, I stopped going to church. Now, I wasn’t praying. I wasn’t reading the Bible. We were going to church, but just going through the motions.” Was God angry at Sean and Angela? Was this His punishment? Does He withhold children from those whose crimes are unforgiveable? They wanted to know, but they couldn’t bring themselves to ask – even each other.
So, where can the answers be found? And can they provide any peace? Any reassurance that there is hope for those who’ve made choices or done things that might have angered God?
I have good news, and it starts with Rahab’s story….
When the Israelites headed toward the Promised Land, it was already inhabited by the Canaanites. Scripture and archaeology reveal their culture was steeped in some of the most shocking, abominable practices imaginable – including incest, bestiality, institutionalized sexual abuse of women and child sacrifice [Leviticus 18:24-28]. In the midst of this depraved society lived a prostitute named Rahab.
Long story short, she knew the Israelites planned to invade Canaan, destroying everyone and everything, under strict instructions from God. She agreed to help them take the city – in exchange for her life, and the lives of her parents and siblings.
Timeout. Look at Rahab. She existed on the lowest rung of a sick society. She had a family that could have provided for her; but apparently, she chose to pursue her profession with all its inherent risks. Did her constant sexual activity produce children? She never mentioned any when she negotiated for her life and that of her family. So, either she disposed of whatever she conceived (abandonment? abortion? child sacrifice?), or she didn’t care enough to protect the lives she’d brought into the world; the invaders could slaughter them.
Does anything in that profile strike you as potentially offensive to God? Inexcusable? Unforgiveable? Then you might want to hear the rest of her story….
She lied to protect the spies sent by the approaching invaders. It was a traitorous act, committed to help people whose law called for a prostitute to be stoned. But she chose to entrust herself to the God who had given that law, and to His people. What became of her?
The whole city was invaded and burned, but she and her family were saved. She accepted God’s offer of forgiveness for everything in her past. Then, she married an Israelite who saw beyond that past – and together, they had a son. Many years later, their great-great grandson, King David, was born. And many generations after that, her descendant Jesus came into the world.
Does that sound like the story of a woman who got what she deserved? Who suffered mightily because God was angry at the choices she’d made? Not to me. I see Rahab’s story as evidence of God’s incredible mercy. He knows what’s in all hearts, He understands all motivations, and He stands ready to forgive all pasts – if we are willing to trust Him, act out of that trust, and receive the future He longs to give us.
Does that sound too good to be true? Not to Sean and Angela, the proud parents of a boy and a girl. It’s not too good for you, either. Receive God’s grace, and may the blessings begin to flow.