“He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.”
I struggled with infertility for 10 years. We don’t know how many years Hannah longed for a child before Eli saw her praying in the tabernacle and said God would grant her request. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, waited 25 years. Yet God eventually blessed us with families. Why were we given children and not you? I’m sure you’ve asked that question: I know I did.
I think one of the most interesting conversations in the Bible is recorded in John 21. Jesus has just made sure Peter knows the job he was called to is still his… [I love Peter; I’m trying to not get distracted talking about him.] Peter is told not to worry, he’ll get his chance to die for the kingdom! Then Peter looks at John and says, “What about him?”
Jesus answered in verse 22, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
Jesus is quite blunt about this; your relationship with God is between you and him. Of course there is fellowship and ministry that flows out of it, but your relationship with God is only about you and him, and frankly, mostly about him. Not only is it not about the people around us it isn’t even about us. God is the whole thing.
Yet He pursues a relationship with us and we come to him needy. Life is full of great burdens. Infertility is one of them. And even though God promised babies to Hannah and Sarah because of his Plan, He hasn’t made that promise to us. He’s only said “follow me”.
When I was first married I wanted a baby more than anything. I couldn’t conceive of a God who would keep me from having a baby! I took it quite personally, as you can see! Paul said God’s grace was sufficient for him, but it wasn’t sufficient for me. I wanted a baby.
When I stumbled across Psalm 113 I thought I’d found MY promise. I grabbed onto it as a promise. This amazing God, higher than anything we can comprehend, stoops down to be involved in our lives. Isn’t that a great picture of the vast gap between the largeness of God and the smallness of us? But is the promise of Psalm 113 the promise of children? Did God lift the poor and needy of Israel [re: verse 8] and seat them with the princes of the people? Maybe once or twice. Has God given barren women children? On occasion he has. But for the most part both the poor and the barren remained in the state they were in. The promise is [I think, I don’t really know if anyone agrees with me!] that this huge God not only stoops down to look at our little lives but involves himself in them in a way that settles us.
One synonym for settle is to resolve it, to work it out. Another would be to become peaceful or relaxed. We use it that way all the time: settle down. Part of my story is that I eventually settled into being unable to conceive… not that I liked it… but it was just the way it was. I changed from that person who just had to have a baby. I was on some level reconciled to the idea it wasn’t happening.
Here’s an illustration. When we were first married, I was absolutely crazy about maternity clothes. I know that sounds really silly, especially if you remember the maternity clothes of the 70’s. I could not walk past a rack of maternity clothes without drooling over them. Seriously.
But a day came when maternity clothes no longer pulled me aside. I didn’t stop to look at them. I walked by them, taking no more notice than if I was walking by a rack of fishing lures. To me that shows the issue was in some sense settled for me.
How was the issue settled? Not by me; it was settled by God reaching down to my life, seeing my real need and giving me that. Is this the same for everyone? Not the same, but true for everyone. God reaches down into every life, way way down, and gives us what we need.
I agree with the Psalmist: Praise the Lord.
@Roxana Currie, 2014
Click here to learn more about Roxana