October 8, 2010 § 1 Comment
In part one of this series we discovered that God desires a quality faith. Quality faith says, “I know God is able, but He may not do what I desire Him to do. Regardless, I will not stop worshiping Him.” Part two of this series laid out how we develop a quality faith. Through seeing God working in our lives, we develop a faith that will hold on despite God’s ways being different than ours.
So in our third and final installment we are going to see how quality faith realizes God’s plans are not our plans. Can you see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego standing before the king with their knees knocking together? They boldly tell the king that their God is ABLE to save them from the fiery furnace. I am guessing in their minds they were planning that God could cause the soldiers to refuse to obey the king, or maybe God will put the fire in the furnace out so that it can’t be lit again. I do things like that. I make plans for how God can save me out of a fiery furnace in my life. He can miraculously heal my friend so she doesn’t have breast cancer any more and needs no surgery or chemo. He can miraculously provide the exact sum of money my friend needs so that she can keep her house. He can repair a marriage without the hard work that generally goes into reconciling two people who have deeply hurt each other. He can miraculously open my womb so I can have the children for which I desperately long. Oh, I have great plans. However God often doesn’t save us from the fiery furnace, instead, He saves us through the fiery furnace.
In fact Isaiah 43:2 says, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Do you see it? God doesn’t promise that you won’t have to walk through some flooded ground, or that you won’t have to swim across a raging river, or that you won’t have to walk through the fire. God does promise that He will be with you, that the waters won’t cause you to drown, and that the flames will not burn you. No sisters He doesn’t promise that your faith will keep you from these things, instead He promises to be with you through those hard times. He promises you that you will not drown or burn. It may feel like drowning and burning, but it is only the refining process. The process that brings maturity, the process that purifies your faith.
Father God thank You that Your plans are much better than my own. Forgive me for complaining about the fiery furnace and for doubting You as I walk through it. Be real to me and my friends who are walking through the water and fire. Cleanse us of our sin, refine us to be more like Jesus. Help us to remember the fire and water are part of Your plan. Let us rest in You as we long for more children. In Jesus’ name Amen.
In what ways can you thank God for being near you as you walk through the furnace of infertility? Share with me what you think.
October 6, 2010 § 2 Comments
I have had this subtle, but real discussion with God lately. He is asking, “Do you trust Me?” My knee jerk response is much like Peter’s response to Jesus after Jesus rose from the dead. He asks Peter, “Do you love Me?” Peter says, “yes.” Jesus asks him three times. Peter responds three times. By the third time Peter’s feelings are hurt. By then Peter couldn’t just ignore the question, he had to truly think about his life and actions. He must have thought, “Do I really love Jesus?” Each time Jesus asked Peter this question, He gave Peter a way to show his love. “Feed My sheep,” is Jesus’ answer to Peter.
As God has been asking, “Do you trust Me,” there are several things that I realize I haven’t laid at His feet. I say I trust Him, I say surely God knows I trust Him. Oh but when the rubber hits the road in my life I am not trusting God.
Am I trusting God with my longing for more children or am I carrying it with me as if I could fulfill that longing without Him.
Am I trusting God by submitting to my husband? When Dan and I disagree with how to proceed or what to do with my desire for more children, I have some choices to make. My sinful self wants only my way, but my God tells me to submit to my husband and allow him to lead. Making the choice to submit often feels like I am trusting myself to the whims of my husband, a sinful man. However it is really trusting God. He gave me my husband. He planned for husbands to be the leader of the home. When I do not submit to my husband, I am really saying I do not trust You God.
So as God is asking me, “Do you trust Me,” I need to show Him I do in my life. This may turn into a recurring series because there are so many aspects of infertility in which we have to trust Him.
Father God, thank You for being faithful and trustworthy. Forgive me for holding back and only trusting You in word rather than in word and deed. Help me to lay my longing and my rights at Your feet. I love You! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
In what ways do you need to show God You trust Him?
September 29, 2010 § 1 Comment
In part one of this series, we learned that God is not looking for quantity of faith from us, but that He is looking for quality faith. The type of faith that says God is able to give me a baby, but if He doesn’t give me a baby, I will still serve and honor Him.
The question is where does this type of faith come from? I mean seriously clinging to God who doesn’t seem to work for you; at least not in the dark longings of infertility. So where do you get the kind of faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had when facing the fiery furnace?
They built their faith on their past experiences with God. Daniel chapter 1 relates the story of these three young men, most likely no older than 12 or 13. King Nebuchadnezzar had taken them into captivity, away from their homes, their parents, their temple where God met with them. They were in a pagan kingdom, ruled by a ruthless pagan king. It would have been easy to turn away from their faith. Instead these three and Daniel decided to keep God’s law and not eat the “choice” food from the king. Instead, they ate fruits and vegetables. They kept themselves pure and for their obedience, God blessed them with more knowledge and health than the other young men. Thus the king put these four young men into positions of importance.
Their past experience with God laid the foundation for their statement of faith while facing the fiery furnace. Is the same true for us? Do we have God experiences from which to draw quality faith? Do we have a history with God, seeing His hand and His miracles around us? Or do we close our eyes to God working in our lives?
Sisters let us look to our past and ask God to show us His hand in our lives. As we see Him working our faith will grow in quality. The kind of faith that honors God. This faith may not result in a baby of our own, but it will result in praise and honor to God.
Precious Heavenly Father, thank You that You do work in our lives. Thank You for the million miracles that I overlook every day. Forgive me for putting on my spiritual blindfold and refusing to see You in the symphony of my life. Help me to take my blindfold off, show me Your hand in my life, increase my faith. Oh Lord, I desperately want to cling to You, but I can’t do it myself. Help me to rest under Your mighty hand as You cling to me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
How is God working in your life?
September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
I have felt the pressure from others that if only I had enough faith, then God would give me a child. I never should have used fertility treatments. So I have decided to do a series of posts on faith and infertility.
Have you ever thought, if only I have enough faith, I can have a child? I just need to visualize it, or imagine it, maybe I just need to say the right words. Certainly then God will hear me and open my womb.
Is that how you feel right now? Are you feeling burdened that you don’t have enough faith to get what you want most, a child? Do you wonder how much faith makes it “enough” so that you can have a baby?
Oh sweet friend, Jesus does not equate the quantity of faith with healing. Sometimes when He healed people miraculously he mentions their faith. However He doesn’t mention a quantity of faith, but a quality of faith (See Mark 5, Matt 18, and Matt 15).
This quality faith is the kind that knows God is able to do anything, but He may choose not to do it. It is the kind of faith that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had in front of the fiery furnace. They tell the king this, “‘our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.'” Dan 3:17-18 (ESV)
Sisters let us dwell here for a moment. Do we have faith that God is able to make our bodies work properly? Do we believe that He can open our wombs? If we answer yes, then the question is: will we still love and serve Him if He never gives us a child? That is the quality of faith God is looking for. Do you have it?
Father, thank You for being faithful to us. Forgive us for our lack of faith. Lord we hand over our hopes and dreams for having children. We lay them at Your cross. O Lord give us the kind of faith that helps us cling to You regardless if You give us children or not. Thank You for loving us while we long and ache for children. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
September 24, 2010 § Leave a comment
I know God has plans for me, yet I long for a child. I am content and full in Him, but I long. I hunger for more. I desire more. In that longing, however there is contentment. The kind that says, “God I trust my dream to Your plans.” I still hope, I still long, but I am content knowing God is in control. I can rest in His love, in His plans, and draw near to Him, despite the longing. Often I draw near to Him because of the longing. Where else can I go? Only He can fulfill my longing. Only He can open my womb and fallopian tubes. Only He can knit a child together in my womb or heart.
Perhaps this is the contentment that Paul is talking about finding. He knows the secret to contentment in any circumstance. Phil 4:11-13 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” I am sure when Paul was hungry he never stopped longing for food. Yet he was content. He was content because he drew near to Christ. Jesus, our source of strength and comfort.
How often do we let our longing disconnect us from our Source of strength, Jesus. Why not let that longing draw us closer to the Source of power? As we draw near we may find deep contentment side-by-side the longing. Just as an empty stomach will not stop longing for food, our hearts may never stop longing for children. Oh, but we can find contentment as we draw near to God.
Father God, thank You that through Jesus I can do all things that You bring to me. Forgive me for holding to my longing for a child. Help me to bring that longing to You as a daily or hourly or maybe even minute by minute sacrifice. Not to rid myself of this dream, but to come near to You to find the strength to be content in You alone. Thank You for Jesus. In His Name, Amen.
How can you use longing as a reminder to draw near to Him?