The pain of infertility runs deep and cannot fully be understood unless one has experienced it. I suppose that’s true of anything we face, be it tragedy, joblessness, illness … Last week in For the Love Bible study, we talked about how to stay strong when it feels as if our prayers fall on deaf ears, and Chaka Heinze shared an incredibly powerful testimony revealing how this plays out in her life. You can read that HERE. Then, Monday, Maria Morgan talked about choosing faith over doubt. You can read that HERE. Today those two messages come together in a celebratory post by my sweet friend Susan Aken.
When the waiting ends
by Susan Aken
“But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” Luke 1:7
“LORD, Please hear my prayer! You know my heart and how I long for a child. I want to hold my own baby and know the joy of motherhood. I desire this with all my soul. Will You give me a child? If not, help me bear this pain and find contentment with empty arms. If it is Your will, please show me what to do. Help me to trust You.”
The cry of a childless woman runs deep. This longing is confronted at every turn with a woman who is a mother. The new babe who smells so sweet. The woman lovingly caressing her swollen abdomen. The toddler who runs around on chubby legs. On and on.
Living in a culture where being childless was a sign of God’s displeasure added to Elizabeth’s pain. Maybe she asked herself, “What did I do wrong?” Sympathetic and condescending smiles mocked her.
“Look at poor Elizabeth! I’m glad it isn’t me.”
Elizabeth’s one recorded quote after becoming pregnant is telling,
“’The Lord has done this for me,’ she said. ‘In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.’” Luke 1:25 (NIV)
Why can’t I have a child Lord? Why do other women get this blessing and not me?
I felt that pain. I always wanted a husband, children and the American dream. But things didn’t happen the way I hoped. I found myself single at the age of twenty-nine. Not the way I’d have written my story. Then I met my wonderful husband, got married and prepared my heart for children. I soon discovered he wasn’t ready (he was younger than I) so I waited.
Years went by. He decided he didn’t want children. I won’t share the whole story here but I found myself at the age of thirty-eight hoping to get pregnant by means of insemination. Month after month nothing happened. After a year of special treatments, I faced the truth I might not ever be a mom and my prayers were similar to the one I began with. Similar to what Elizabeth may have prayed.
Then came a phone call about a baby boy who needed a mom and dad. Twenty-two hours later I was holding our son! Like Elizabeth my miracle came. The wait was over.
Euphoria! Grace in the form of a newborn baby. A love letter from God. Grace in every cry and squeak. Grace in arms filled with a sweet baby boy. I knew that I didn’t deserve the miracle God
gave. We made several decisions along the way that should’ve taken us off the miracle list. I hadn’t even been seeking God with my whole heart.
Did Elizabeth feel that euphoria? I’m certain she did! Did she see grace in the face of that newborn boy? I believe so.
She went from shame to rejoicing.
I wouldn’t change one thing about how our son came to us. I imagine Elizabeth would say the same. God’s timing is always perfect.
In that moment, when the waiting ends, God’s grace is painted in living color and all we can do is bow and give thanks.
“For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition that I made to him.” 1 Samuel 1:27 (ESV)
This is a 40-day devotional book on the topic of hope. Each day’s devotion includes verses from the Bible, inspirational thoughts by the author, reflection questions and a prayer. The topics include many of the struggles common to us all such as parenting, death, fear, sin, and the futility of daily life. There are also devotions on the character of God, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the power of God’s word and other topics. These writings express the hope that gets me through each day and I pray they will also help you.
Susan is a homemaker, substitute teacher and writer. She lives in Nebraska but was born and raised in Oklahoma. Her greatest love is for the Lord Jesus Christ who has redeemed her and set her free. Her other loves are her husband and son (she is now an empty-nester). Susan enjoys reading, photography, spending time with family and friends and writing. She has a heart for prayer ministry and loves her church!
Let’s talk about this! When our prayers aren’t answered on our timetable, when our waiting takes years, even decades, we may assume God isn’t listening or that He doesn’t plan to answer our prayers at all. But Scripture tells us God is always working on our behalf. That doesn’t mean He’ll grant every one of our desires, but it does mean He will always and only do what is for our best.
Can you share a time when it felt as if God wasn’t listening only to find out later He’d been working behind the scenes, setting things into motion, on your behalf? How might focusing on His promise to work things out for our good (Romans 8:28) help you maintain hope and spiritual strength during a time of waiting?