Girl meets boy. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl and boy get married. Girl and boy have their first baby by their first wedding anniversary. Oh wait, no they didn’t. Well maybe by their second anniversary. Wait, what? No baby? Ok no buggy. Girl and boy have been married five years certainly they have had a baby or two by now! WHAT still no baby! Down the road a few more years we find our happy couple celebrating their tenth wedding anniversary. Surely by now they have had a baby! Are you kidding me? This couple still hasn’t had a baby? Do they even want to have a baby?
Sounds harsh right? Story of my life. As my husband and I celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary this scenario runs through my head. When I got married my expectation and heartfelt desire was to have my first baby by twenty-five and by the time I was thirty-two we would be adding our fourth child to the fold! My expectation and desire to have a baby has gone unfulfilled.
Don’t get me wrong, hubby and I have had our share of wild and crazy adventures, from traveling around the country, day trips to Paris, a Mediterranean cruise. It has been exciting and exhilarating. But every now and then, sometimes more than others, I find myself thinking I would trade all of that just to cradle a baby in my arms. To sit alone in a dimly lit nursery rocking a sleeping baby humming Jesus loves me would be a far greater treasure than climbing the steps to the Acropolis of Lindos.
As I sit here pondering these things I have to wonder surely there are examples of people in the in the bible that have experienced unfulfilled desires and still held onto their faith. I’m sure there are numerous instances to read about but the ones that jump out to me first are of Moses and of King David. And of course my dear sister Hannah!
Moses was incredibly faithful and obedient. After encountering God in the desert in the form of a burning bush, he returned to Egypt and demands Pharaoh to let his people go. Moses leads his people out of Egypt and eventually to wandering the desert for forty years in search of the promise land. How Moses must have longed for rest. How he must have desired so much to experience the promise land after all he had endured. But we read in Deuteronomy 31:2 that Moses goes out to all Israel and says, “I am now a hundred and twenty-five years old and I am no longer able to lead you. The Lord has said to me ‘you shall not cross the Jordan'”. Can you even imagine that? Forty years of his life faithfully and obediently following God and he never gets to see the promise land. I don’t know about you but after a few months of failed fertility treatments I was already stomping my feet and questioning God.
Or how about King David. He is referred to as a man after God’s own heart. Sure he sinned, he wasn’t perfect who is? But all the same a man after God’s own heart. What was David’s desire? We find in 1 Chronicles 28:2-3 that he “had it in his heart to build a temple for the ark of the covenant” but as we read on in verse three God tells him, “you are not to build a house for my name , because you are a warrior”. Wow after all David had done in service for God’s people and because of that he is not chosen to build the temple. His desire was unfulfilled. We later learn that it is in fact his son Solomon who God chooses to build the temple. What does David do? The last sentence in Deuteronomy 29:9 says, “David the king also rejoiced greatly”. He rejoiced despite his unfulfilled desire.
However I think the story that I can draw the most encouragement from is my dear kindred sister Hannah. I have always felt such closeness and fondness for her. Although the bible doesn’t clearly specify how long dear Hannah endured bareness, I’ve seen where some scholars speculate that it was close to nineteen years, we can see how she responded to it. Hannah suffered ridicule from her husband’s other wife because of her bareness (I thought I had it rough), she suffered the heart breaking of seeing the women around her bare children. She endured year after year after year of missing out on the joys of mothering. But still Hannah prayed. She prayed without ceasing. In 1 Samuel 1:13 it tells us “Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard”. I can just see her there in the temple on her knees, head bowed, tears streaking down her cheeks, eyes closed pouring her heart out to God silently. Totally unaware of anyone else being there it was just her and God. In that holy place Hannah was pouring out her greatest heartfelt desire to God. Even after years of waiting she still had faith enough to pray.
Now I know after reading all that some may still wonder “what does all that mean for me?” Well let me tell you, though living with unfulfilled desires (even ones that seem harmless and pure) is challenging even unbearable at times, I remember that my God will meet all of my needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19). God is always going to ensure I have everything I need. And He will do the same for you. Our journey through infertility may seem like just another unfulfilled desire, but it’s actually a process God is using to refine us for His plan and purpose! We can be confident of this, that He [God] who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).