How hard is it for you to listen to gratuitous, unsolicited advice? Or to offhand comments like, “Don’t be in such a hurry to get pregnant. Enjoy your freedom!” or “Why don’t you take our kids for a weekend. That’ll change your mind about wanting some of your own!”
Some people make remarks like that out of sheer cluelessness. They have no idea what you’re going through, and since you don’t tell them all of the agonizing details, their lack of insight leads to inane advice.
Other people mean well, but they’re extraordinarily uncomfortable with your ongoing suffering. They want to “fix” this for you, but they know they can’t – so they do the next best thing; they make themselves feel better by saying what they wish would help. Very often, it doesn’t.
Is there anything anyone can offer that will reassure you? Comfort and encourage you? Give you a reason to keep hoping, despite all the forms of failure you’ve experienced so far?
Yes. It’s a promise found in the story of Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth.
According to Luke, they were both quite old – well past the age when they could reasonably hope God would answer years’ worth of prayers for a child. Still, despite God’s persistent silence in response to their repeated requests, the Bible says they continued to live “upright” and “blameless” lives.
Do you know the story? An angel appeared to Zechariah, the priest, as he burned incense in the temple. The angel told him Elizabeth would conceive “at the proper time.” Some translations read, “at the appointed time.” The angel went on to describe the life and purpose of Zechariah’s future son. Not only would he delight his parents, he would “make ready a people for the Lord.”
So, what did Zechariah focus on? “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” In other words, “No offense, but you gotta be kidding. Now?!” As a footnote in my Bible comments wryly, “His age spoke more loudly than God’s promise.”
Does that sound familiar at all? Are you wrestling with doubts about a promise God has made to you because it seems increasingly impossible? Does it seem unlikely that He will bless the seed of hope He’s planted in your heart, given all that’s happened? The time that’s passed? The money that’s disappeared? The hope that’s faded with every additional miscarriage?
Then reread the story in Luke 1:5-25 (Spoiler alert: everything the angel foretold comes to pass).
Ask yourself: What about Zechariah and Elizabeth’s story should matter to infertile couples? That God can make old folks pregnant? That people who live upright and blameless lives have a chance of an 11th hour miracle? If that’s all you take from the story, I think you’ve missed the deeper, more powerful promise.
“At the appointed time.”
God has known from the beginning of your infertility journey… from the beginning of your life… from generations and generations before your life even began…. He has always known the appointed time for fulfilling His plan for your family.
The moment when you will first glimpse the child He intends for you to steward is no surprise to Him. It’s already scheduled. If you could see His calendar for your life, it would be there. Circled in red. Waiting for “the proper time.”
Why can’t NOW be that proper time? Because it’s not just about you and your sense of urgency. Your child has a place in history. God has a purpose for bringing that particular person into the world at a particular moment. He has a plan for that person’s life — and it goes way beyond making you happy.
Can you wait? Can you trust God’s purposefulness enough to push aside thoughts of “Now! Now! Now!” and instead, pray for patience and peace until “the appointed time?” If so, you will delight the God who loves you and who eagerly anticipates that appointed time.