Dear Waiting for Baby Bird,
My husband isn’t a strong believer and with us having infertility he wonders, “Why would God do this to us?” How do we grow together spiritually in this journey?
Dear Asking Why,
Recently, I hosted an in-person support group in which I asked the ladies in attendance to fill in the blank, “Infertility is _____.” One woman answered excruciating, and another said that it is debilitating. But for me? I said that infertility is asking why. Questions and doubts plague my mind more than I like to admit.
Why is this happening to me?
Why am I not healed yet?
Why are we going through this?
As humans, during broken circumstances and heartache, we tend to ask why.
For many, including myself and perhaps your husband, when we ask God why terrible things are happening to us and around us, we tend to only hear one thing… silence. Therefore, we feel unheard and alone. As a result, we tend to grow bitter and angry at what appears to be His lack of response to our pain.
If only we could meet with God for a lunch date and ask Him in person, right?
However, while we can’t look at Him in the eyes and hand over our list of questions as to why infertility, sickness, and other horrific things happen to people, we can look back to scripture and read about those who could, and those who did.
For example, when a situation arises and the questions of “why” torment me the most, I like to park my heart and mind on my favorite question-and-answer session found in the Gospel of John. Are you familiar with it? If not, let me tell you in the EGK version. That’s the Elisha Grace Kearns translation The story goes like this:
Jesus was leaving the temple, running from the angry Pharisees who planned to stone him. While on the run, he passed by and saw a man blind from birth, and his disciples stopped (maybe for a breather) and asked him, “Teacher, because this man was born blind, who sinned, this man or his parents?” (John 9:1-2)
Now, when I read a story from the bible, I like to insert myself into it as if I was there. It helps it evolve and become alive to me. And so, I want you to do the same. I want you to close your eyes (well, not entirely, because I need you to read), but I want you to put yourself in the dirty cloak and worn out sandals of this begging blind man. He was stinky and sitting outside the temple, when the question was asked. He knew the question was directed at him. Chances are he had heard it before and it always sounded like an accusation targeted at his character. If you didnt kmow, at that time, blindness was common and considered punishment for a sin either the person or their parents committed. Blind men were also regarded as defective. But let’s continue with the story because, in the following verses, Jesus gives us an answer. He says,
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” (John 9:3-5 NIV)
Jesus was clear, even crystal clear. Neither the man nor his parents sin caused the blindness. How freeing! Not only was this theologically groundbreaking because calamity and suffering were believed to be a cause of sin during that time, but it is also been personally liberating for me. So many times I have believed infertility was my fault. Or if it wasn’t me pointing the finger, it was others pointing it for me toward my sin Therefore, I can feel the deep sense of relief he must have felt when he heard that neither he nor his parents caused his debilitating sickness.
But hang in here with me because the next part of the passage can be confusing. If you were to read the sentence in the verse as, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him,” you might come up with the wrong conclusion that God is the one to blame.
But that’s also not the case.
In the original language, the phrase, “so that the works of God…” precedes the next verse. However, if you do a deep study of the bible, you will see that there are eleven uses of this kind of phrase in the Gospel of John, and at least half of them preceded the main sentence rather than follow it. Therefore, bible scholars believe this sentence should follow that same pattern, so instead, the verse should be read as:
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but so that the work of God might be displayed in his life, we must do the work of him who sent me while it is still day.”
See the difference? If not, The NIV Application Commentary explains it for us. It says, “The purpose clause explains that Jesus must work so that God’s work may be displayed in this man’s life. God had not made the man blind to show his glory; instead, God has sent Jesus to do works of healing to display his glory.” Jesus was clear that neither this man nor his parents’ sin caused the blindness.
But neither did God cause it.
He used it, but He wasn’t the author of it.
Sickness, disease, and even poverty are consequences of the fall due to sin. But we have hope. If you look at Romans 5:12, it tells us, “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.” When man sinned, everything changed. But this is why Jesus came–for the redemption and restoration of all things. He came to heal our broken relationship with God and heal the consequences of the broken world we live in.
It’s not one or the other; it’s both.
You can look at it like this: Jesus didn’t die to just get you into heaven, He came and died to also get heaven into you. Jesus even taught us to pray with this mindset and goal, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Just think, how is it in heaven? I believe that’s what God wants for us here on earth.
For those of us with why questions, we can stop the story here with the comfort of knowing that Jesus wasn’t accusing anyone of the blind man’s physical limitation. Instead, he was all about healing it. Jesus came to restore both physically and relationally what had been lost in the fall. This gives me hope about my situation, and I pray that it gives you the same hope about your situation too.
But I would venture to say that this doesn’t stop your mind from still asking why, does it? It’s natural for us to want to know why, but I often say that if asking why will lead us away from Jesus, then that’s not the question we need to ask.
Don’t misunderstand me, questions can be a great help when grieving our shattered plans and communicating our frustrations. Still, I’ve discovered that the longer I focus on why this is happening, the less progress I make towards living a life of peace. Because as the answers don’t seem to come, bitterness appears. Resentment takes root. And the blame game starts in which I begin to focus on everything but His goodness. Therefore, instead, when the question why comes to my mind, I am learning to switch and ask what, or how. For example:
What can I learn from this situation?
How can my story fit into God’s greater story of restoration?
Even when we can’t see how our stories could possibly fit into God’s greater story of restoration, Scripture, specifically Romans 8:28, promises us that it always does and always will. What the enemy means for evil, God will use for good. God has a great track record of often using the things He hates, to accomplish the things He loves.
I pray this has encouraged you today, or at the very least, caused you to think. Maybe up until now you have never thought of how God could use what you are going through for His glory. Or maybe you have believed God did this to you, therefore restoration couldn’t be a part of His plan for your life going forward. But, if nothing else, I want to encourage you to not always ask why, but begin to ask how…or what.
How might God use this to show me something about himself? (Because perhaps you know Him as your provider, but now you will know Him as your healer.)
Or you could ask…
How might I turn this mess into a message?
What can I do to display God’s love and grace despite what I am going through?
Lastly, you asked how you can grow spiritually together, and my advice would be to attend a bible-believing church and study the word together. Perhaps starting in the gospels would be beneficial. In the gospels, we see the heart of the Father through Jesus. Therefore, if you want to learn more about God and His character, look to Jesus, a picture of perfect theology. Don’t be discouraged if your husband isn’t on board with doing those things. Instead, focus on developing God’s love and Truth in your life first, and as you live it out, you will become a witness to him, ultimately leading him in the way of understanding God’s love for us.
This was a tough question to answer, but I’m so glad you did! Please know that I am praying for you both, because as much as my ministry is about helping others have hope for their wombs to grow and their arms to be filled, my heart is really bent towards them having their faith grow and their souls filled with more of Jesus.
“For the LORD is good; His loving kindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 100:5
With all my love,
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