And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
Psalm 42:11 (NASB)
This week marks five years since our first little one went to be Jesus. If you had asked me then what I anticipated for the next five years, I could not have imagined where our path would lead. God has seen fit to take my husband and me through a long valley in which we have weathered five miscarriages and many months of infertility. These years have brought heartache, fear, pain, incessant doctor appointments, difficult questions, self-pity and doubt. But these years have also been filled with joy, blessings, mercy, grace, sweet fellowship, trust, worship, and hope. We have known the Father's loving and sovereign care at every turn.
Well-meaning friends respond to our trial in different ways. Some will try to encourage me by saying, "I just know the Lord is going to give you kids!" Others will tell me about someone they know who also had several miscarriages -- but now have more kids than they know what to do with. While I appreciate the heart behind their efforts to encourage me, this Pollyanna-like wishful thinking all too quickly becomes a snare for my heart and sets my mind clinging to the wrong hope.
Maintaining hope through the long-haul has not been easy but I've come to understand that it is simple. When I fall into self-pity and doubt it is because I have placed my hope in the wrong thing. Hope that rests in having children is ultimately empty. Hope that rests in having the picture-perfect life I planned for myself is ultimately a dead-end. Only hope that rests in Christ and His Cross is sure, satisfying and eternal. All other ground is truly sinking sand. Only Christ is certain. Only Christ is solid ground. The Lord has not promised me children; He has promised me Himself. My hope is in the Gospel. (Psalm 130:7, Lamentations 3:19-24, Ephesians 1:18, 1 Timothy 6:17, Hebrews 6:16:20, Hebrews 12:1-2, 1 Peter 1:3-9)
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Come hopeless hearts, do not despair
Hide away in the love of Jesus
For ten thousand joys await you there
Hide away in the love of Jesus
These comforting lyrics immediately bring to mind the joys that await us in heaven; sinless, painless, perfect fellowship with God, unhindered worship, reuniting with saints already there and meeting our five children. But there is comfort in the mean time as well. Thankfully, this is a truth that also applies in the midst of our suffering. There are ten thousand joys that await me right now through abiding in His love. I often find myself thinking that I need children, but what I really need is Him -- and only Him. How do I maintain hope? Unshaken hope comes when God's grace causes me to see that He is all I have and He is everything I need.
At the end of the day, I can honestly say that I am thankful for this valley. No, I would not have chosen this path -- but our kind Father has allowed it for our good and His glory. And indeed God's goodness is evident. He has given us a clearer vision of His character even as we have cried out to Him. He is using this trial to refine us, to reveal our sin, to make us thankful, to cause us to loosen our grip on this world and long for our heavenly home -- as we draw close and hide away in the love of Jesus.