(Habakkuk 3: 17-18, NLT)
17 Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
and there are no grapes on the vines;
even though the olive crop fails,
and the fields lie empty and barren;
even though the flocks die in the fields,
and the cattle barns are empty,
18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
Sometimes you just don’t get what you want. That thing you’ve longed for all of your days. That expectation. The ideal. You’ve prayed for it. You’ve waited, and waited, and waited for it. You’ve cried out to God, “WHY?!?” You’ve been angry, sad, impatient. You’ve been joyful, generous, understanding. Yet still you wait, and still you stand with empty hands. At least…that’s the way it feels…when you are left wanting and longing for something.
This feeling applies to so much in our lives — as we are all different…with varying goals, dreams and desires — yet for so many of us, this feeling is a result of infertility. It is a silent suffering that plagues the homes of more individuals, couples and families than we ever realize. I don’t want to monopolize this opportunity to encourage others with my own personal struggle over this specific obstacle…as it pertains to my life, but suffice it to say that I have walked the road of loneliness and despair that comes when your body will not do what you so want it to do…when you don’t get what you want!
I got pregnant with my son very quickly, and the pregnancy/birth experience was easy and pleasant (aside from those typical discomforts that all mothers have), so when we decided it was time to try for a second child, our assumption was that it would just happen. Yet…happen it did not. Until…one day it did! Father’s Day 2010 we had a positive test, and we excitedly shared our news with family…yet within the coming week, we experienced the pain and gut-wrenching disbelief that is miscarriage. Since then, it was much of the same…over and over and over again. I asked my doctor, “Why is this happening to me?” There were several physiological reasons that were working together to prevent a successful pregnancy. I was given odds and statistics, and as a result…I felt like a huge disappointment…broken and faulty. This wasn’t the way my life was supposed to be…how things were supposed to happen for us! So, I lied to myself…and to others…oh Lord, did I lie!
“We don’t want more children.”
“We are content.”
“It’s been too long and I don’t want to start over.”
And on and on went the lies. It made me feel better to lie, because when I was honest…I got mad. The anger would then lead me to conviction, because I am well aware that being angry with God only leads to a hardened, sinful heart. Yet no matter what I did…whether I was lying about and hiding my true feelings…or whether I was allowing the anger to sear my heart into a stony, protective shell…I was unhappy.
But isn’t that where selfishness leads us to though? Unhappiness? How can it take us anywhere else? I was thinking with my “Id” (that carnal, instinctual part of my psyche), and allowed it to just sort of take over. I wasn’t thinking Heavenly thoughts anymore. I was so focused on what I thought I wanted, that I was missing out on the joys of being grateful for always having what I needed.
Please let me encourage your heart today. I know the frustration of feeling that your cries and prayers have fallen on deaf ears, but understand this…Father knows best.
As a child, I remember asking for things that I just didn’t need, yet I wanted them so badly. I would beg and plead, and though it pained my parents to have to say it, they would sometimes have to answer no…to which I would respond with ridiculous and petulant behavior.
One time, when I was about 7 years old, we took a family vacation (as we did every summer of my childhood), and on our way back home we passed through Maggie Valley, TN. We had spent a lot of time and money already, and we were on the last leg of our journey home. (I can only imagine how tired my parents must have been, after a full week of summer fun with 5 kids under the age of thirteen!) As I have always been one to notice and read billboards, while we passed through this particular region, I began to see signs for “Ghost Town in the Sky!” Well hot dog…that sounded fun to me!! So I asked, “Daddy, daddy, can we pleeeeeaaaasseee go to Ghost Town in the Sky? Please???” Well my dad, who only ever wanted to please and bless his family, agreed to check the prices. This was the 1980’s, so no internet! He had to actually pull in the parking lot, leave us all in the van, and walk to the gates to inquire about tickets. As we sat there, I was SO expectant! I just knew that we would be going in any minute. When I saw my dad walking back toward the van in the distance, I was literally vibrating with excitement, yet…the closer he got, I could see he wasn’t smiling. The answer was no. It was too expensive. Well, I cried, I wailed, and I just did not understand why we couldn’t go in! I lamented, “I hate being poor!!” (A statement I have yet to live down to this day!) We were not poor! Sometimes Daddy just had to say no…Father knows best.
That entire ride the rest of the way home, I missed out on the joy of my now because of my sulking about the past.
Friends, don’t sulk and wallow in your discontent. Rejoice in the Lord, who has graciously given to you all that you could ever need. He truly does know best. There is so much about my life that would not have come to pass if I had been handed what I thought I wanted in the moment. Babies are always a blessing, yet I know that there are things that I was meant and appointed by God to do that would not be possible if my life were any different than it is right now. I am finding joy in that…in seeing that God is moving all around me, and using me in ways that I never would have come up with on my own.
“You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find…you get what you need!” – The Rolling Stones
Prayer: Heavenly Father, when things are not as I imagined — when I am hurt, questioning, and confused — help me to see Your hand in my life anyway. Give me joy in my mourning, and help me to trust You at all times. Amen.