This is my third post here at Satisfaction Through Christ, so I thought I might take a moment and let you get to know me a little more. I have been blogging for almost seven years, and the majority of those years focused on the fact that I am infertile, and that we are adoptive parents. In fact, my original blog was called “Barren Woman,” and that is still my email address. However, as time as passed and our son has gotten older, my focus has shifted into more of a Christian living and theology arena, so I changed my writings, too.
Infertility is still a very large part of who I am, and who we are, as a married couple. Adoption doesn’t solve infertility – it doesn’t take it away. Adoption only solves one part of infertility: the desire to be a parent. I am a mommy – a title I proudly yet humbly wear every single day. My six year old must say, “Mommy” 9,000 times every day, and my heart pings a little each and every time; it’s a name I thought I would never be called.
Yet I am still barren. Every month is another month of aching, empty arms. Every baby shower invite is another reminder of what others seem to achieve so easily while I wonder why my body fails to do what it was created by the Creator to do: bear life. And every time a Christian quotes Psalm 127:3 is like a dagger to my very soul: “Behold, children are a gift from the Lord. The fruit of the womb is a reward.”
Sometimes, Scripture hurts.
I’m not talking about Scripture being the sharp, double edged sword mentioned by the Hebrews writer, where it punctures through our conscience and highlights and corrects sinful behavior. I mean sometimes Scripture is painful because it doesn’t explain the why part of your hard life.
If children are a gift – a reward – why am I infertile?
Proverbs 22:6 promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
If I reared my child in the faith – in the way he should go – why did he depart from it as an adult? Why is he not rearing my grandchildren in the faith so precious to me?
Isaiah 48:22 promises, “‘There is no peace for the wicked,’ says the Lord.”
Why are the wicked prospering while I fight tooth and nail just to survive?
Sometimes, Scripture hurts, because it doesn’t seem true.
The question becomes how to reconcile these sorts of things. All Scripture is true – even if it doesn’t appear true in our own lives.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man (woman) of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (II Timothy 3:16-17).
What is a Christian to do when Scripture hurts?
First, remember that God knows. God knows you, and He did not give us only one or two verses. He gave us an entire Bible full of His guidance and wisdom. When I really begin to doubt and question, when Scriptures like Psalm 127 twist in my gut, all I have to do is flip over a few pages to Psalm 139:13-16:
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me
When as yet there was not one of them…
That Psalm continues, and I encourage you to go there sometime today and read the whole thing. It is a comfort to grasp that promise of God: He knows you. He knows me. He knows your struggle and what hurts, and He knew before He even created you. God is not unfamiliar with my suffering, or yours, and He is well aware that we struggle with reconciling His promises with our daily reality. I find that incredibly comforting; I have a personal God who is intimately aware of me and my pain.
Second, God sees you. One of my favorite Old Testament accounts is that of Hagar in the desert. If you read Genesis 16, you’ll discover the account of Sarai (another barren woman) and her servant girl Hagar. Sarai drives pregnant Hagar away, and as Hagar is weeping in the desert, convinced she will die, an angel of the Lord appears before her. God promises to be with her and her son, and Hagar says, “You are a God who sees” (Genesis 16:13). Hagar was nothing more than a slave girl – worthless, meaningless, of little value in that society. But God saw her, and God sees you. Not only is God aware of your suffering, your confusion, your pain – He sees you. The Creator God of the Universe sees you, His precious daughter. He is aware – He knows – He sees.
Third, nothing can separate you from God’s love. My doubts about infertility, rewards, quiversful of children? Those have absolutely zero bearing on God’s love for me. “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). My pain-full days of aching arms, weep fests over babies I will never bear, and pointless wondering about why – God still loves me with the everlasting love of my salvation. God still loves you.
Finally, He promises never to leave you. As Jesus ascended into Heaven after His days on earth following the resurrection, He promised, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b). Here’s the thing about Scripture: it isn’t experiential. It’s truth. We don’t experience it – we believe it. Even when we don’t feel Jesus close to us, He is there, because He promised to never leave us. On the days when Scripture hurts and we are questioning our difficult lives, we can cling to His promises. Jesus is with us, because He said He would be. The end.
Sometimes, Scripture hurts. Actually, sometimes, specific Scriptures hurt. But overall, Scripture is full of the promises of God’s everlasting love and faithfulness toward each one of His precious daughters. We just have to choose where to focus. Today I choose the truth: God knows me, sees me, loves me, and is with me. You, too, my friend; you, too.