The real battle ended when
Job refused to give up on God.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” And the pain of that experience will never, ever, ever, go away. The loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Sistine Chapel, Gondolas. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting. After several months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland!” “Holland?” you say. “What do you mean, Holland? I signed up for Italy. I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.” But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay. The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place full of pestilence, famine, and disease. It’s just a different place. So, you must go out and buy new guidebooks. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met. It’s just a different place. It’s slower paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around. You begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has tulips. And Holland even has Rembrandts. But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy, and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life you will say, “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” And the pain of that experience will never, ever, ever, go away. The loss of that dream is a very significant loss. But if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things about Holland.
When I think of the wisdom and scope of God's plan, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you mighty inner strength through his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your heart as you trust in him.
May your roots go down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love. And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love really is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is so great you will never fully understand it. Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May he be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen.
In the midst of this turmoil that I wrestle with in my heart and mind, while I am still waiting for answers to my questions, while I still don't understand why, while I continue to quake under this refining process, help me not to cause another to stumble. Help me to reach out through my pain to comfort someone going through a similar experience. And hardest of all, Lord (because it reminds me that you haven't chosen this miracle for me yet), help me to rejoice with someone who has just been given the miracle of a baby. Also, please help me to react with love when others say things that are hurtful about this, my SOFTEST SPOT.This quote from Debra Bridwell's book The Ache for A Child was given to me in the beginning of our infertility journey. A new friend wrote it in a greeting card. I can't explain why it meant so much.
Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.I praise the Lord that I am no longer at this point in my life. But I remember for many years this is how I felt. Not only did I always think about my pain, but I thought about the fact that I was always in pain. It was mentally exhausting. If you are walking the path with someone who is in pain right now, I hope this gives you new insight and little more compassion.
I challenge you to go home and read again the story of Jesus. Was life ‘fair’ to him? For me, the cross demolished for all time the basic assumption that life will be fair!
Jesus offered no immunity, no way out of the unfairness, but rather a way through it to the other side.
God will sometimes seem unfair from the perspective of a person trapped in time. Only at the end of time, after we have attained God’s level of viewing, after every evil has been punished or forgiven, every illness healed, and the entire universe restored, only then will fairness reign.
In 1997 driving across the Jimmie Davis Bridge on my way to work, I was struck by this. Not just struck. I was moved, I was touched. I was overwhelmed with the understanding of how and why I could have pure joy and love for my heavenly Father when my mother was 12 hours away dying a painful death. I can't explain it. I can't put words to it. But this chapter in Buechner's book comes so close.To be commanded to love God at all costs, let alone in the wilderness, is like being commanded to be well when we are sick, to sing for joy when we are dying of thirst, to run when our legs are broken. But this is the first and great commandment nonetheless. Even in the wilderness – especially in the wilderness – you shall love Him.- Frederick Buechner from Secrets from the Dark: A Life in Sermons.
It was there, in that wilderness, that for the first time in my life I caught sight of something of what it must be like to love God truly. It was only a glimpse, but it was like stumbling on fresh water in the desert, like remembering something so huge and extraordinary that my memory had been unable to contain it." "I did not love God, God knows, because I was some sort of saint or hero. I did not love Him because I suddenly saw the light (there was almost no light at all) or because I hoped by loving him to persuade him to heal the young woman I loved. I LOVED HIM BECAUSE I COULDN'T HELP MYSELF. I loved him because the one who commands us to love is the one who also empowers us to love, as there in the wilderness of that dark and terrible time I was, through no doing of my own, empowered to love him at least a little, at least enough to survive. And in the midst of it, these small things happened that were as big as heaven and earth because through them a hope beyond hopelessness happened.There are a few moments in time that I remember so vividly...the sounds, the sights, the smell, the feeling. This moment on that bridge is one of those for me.
My baby’s life was not long enough to have any pictures to carry in my billfold, but was long enough to fill my heart with wonderful memories. I was never hurt by my child’s rebellion, was never embarrassed by my child’s actions, and I never had to discipline him. This was my child who brought me only joy all the days of his life. Thank you, God, for that kind of child; it was a gift only you could give.And from a letter I wrote them:
The amount of joy you brought us in such a short time is amazing. I do not regret loving you as much as I did. And I am so thankful that I did not spend my pregnancy dreading the worse or worrying that something would happen to you. If I had, I would have not been able to feel the joy that I did. I do not regret that you existed because even with the immense pain we felt in losing you, at least we knew and loved you for a while. I hope that you could feel and know our love for you.Joseph and Hope are experiencing more joy, more contentment, more happiness, and more satisfaction and love than this world could every have given them. My babies will never experience the emotional heartache of suffering, or the physical pain of sickness and injury in this imperfect world. They are enjoying in totality the wonderful presence of God in a very perfect heaven.