As I sang Chris Tomlin’s song “How Marvelous, How Wonderful”, I could not help but think how marvelous and wonderful are the works of the Lord, is the grace He freely gives us and His love He proclaim to all His people.
I am going to put an intermission to my 31 days of prayer during infertility to reflect on the Lord’s goodness.
I did not have it good over CNY. PMS was raging inside me and I was “attacked” all over by the three forces that draw us away from following God – the devil, the world and the flesh. Giving out the ‘ang pows’ was a pain as I see others happily celebrating CNY with their children. Pain and guilt overwhelmed me so much so, that I wanted to just shut myself out from everyone. God granted me that wish. I had my solitude with Him alone.
During the times of attack, I was pulled from both ends – my heart (which was weak and hardened) and the Spirit (who is ever willing to follow the Lord’s ways). I would like to think that God meant all this (my infertility) for good and to trust in His perfect timing. But my heart had blocked out whatever I’ve read from His word and continued to remain hardened. It was a tiring process. I’ve lost faith in the midst of this struggle. Just when I thought I have lost faith in the Lord, God intervened. I was so overwhelmed with stress of worries, anxieties and concerns of not being able to get pregnant that I became bitter and sorrowful. I felt sorry for my husband who had to put up with all my commotion. Then God sent a loving sister in Christ to call and comfort me. After speaking to her over the phone, I could feel a bulk of burden instantly removed from me and I was able to walk freely with God once again. Everything I’ve read from the Bible has become clear and my heart is more accepting of the Word and of advice given by my sisters in Christ.
Following the breakthrough, God reassured me of His promise by showing me His greatest commandment:
6 “Now this is the commandment, and these are the statutes and judgments which the Lord your God has commanded to teach you, that you may observe them in the land which you are crossing over to possess, 2 that you may fear the Lord your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, you and your son and your grandson, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3 Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it, that it may be well with you, and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God of your fathers has promised you—‘a land flowing with milk and honey.’
4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one! 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.
6 “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
10 “So it shall be, when the Lord your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, 11 houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant—when you have eaten and are full— 12 then beware, lest you forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
I’ve always pondered on this verse – “Love your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength” and wondered deeply of its meaning in my life. I sought the Lord for His guidance and advice. The revelation came after I met up with another sister in Christ, but at the point it hadn’t hit me yet. I have been seeking traditional medication for a year to cure our infertility problems. It worked (for a while). But after some time, my heart felt no peace in going for all the consultations and taking the medication. It was time for me to reflect again on God’s plan for me.
Then, my sister in Christ brought up the matter of not following and trusting in God completely. If I am to believe that God will bless me with a child, I will have to believe it throughout. Only then, I realized that I had been having diverted attention. I found that I was trusting the doctor more than I was trusting God. And that was when, this verse became even more clear to me. It was like a bolt that got lighted up. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. I have decided to terminate the medication altogether and just trust the Lord in His perfect timing and healing.
When I made that decision, there was a deep fear in me. Fear that if I quit now, I will not be able to get pregnant. Then it struck me hard that I have become too dependent on the doctor and his medication that I remained in a “bondage”. When the Lord released me from that bondage, fear sipped in immediately. Then I prayed for God to ease my heart with His peace to follow His ways and His ways only. Following this, I received His answers:
Mark 4:40 – “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?“
Mark 5:36 – “Don’t be afraid; just believe“
Jeremiah 17:7 – Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.
Lord, all my desire is before You;
And my sighing is not hidden from You.
10 My heart pants, my strength fails me;
As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me.
14 Thus I am like a man who does not hear,
And in whose mouth is no response.
15 For in You, O Lord, I hope;
You will hear, O Lord my God.
21 Do not forsake me, O Lord;
O my God, be not far from me!
22 Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!
Truly I was overwhelmed to the point that I could not pray to God. My prayers were all meaningless and I felt like a hypocrite uttering nonsense to the Lord. But God did not leave me nor did He forsake me. This verse became clearer to me than ever:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
He shall direct my paths, of what to do and which way to go during this time of infertility. I cannot have a divided heart and a diverted attention when it comes to following Him.
At church today, the Lord’s message to me became prominent. There was a short children’s devotion before pastor’s sermon and it was about following God wholeheartedly. Then in the pastor’s sermon, He highlighted that there are only two categories of people whom God describes – the righteous and the wicked. We choose either to be righteous and have our names recorded in the Book of Life, or stray to the wicked ways of the world by indulging in idolatry. When we choose life, we can see how God works wonders in us. He reminded us of the three forces that strive to pull us away from God everyday of our lives, and emphasized that in the midst of it all, the Lord triumphs over all the earth. He is in control! A Christian’s life is full of struggles and there is no running away, but God uses our struggle for a good cause, for a good purpose (Romans 8:28).
11 I will remember the works of the Lord;
Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.
12 I will also meditate on all Your work,
And talk of Your deeds.
13 Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary;
Who is so great a God as our God?
14 You are the God who does wonders;
You have declared Your strength among the peoples.
15 You have with Your arm redeemed Your people,
The sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
Just as the church service was about to end, I pulled out a piece of paper from my Bible to jot down notes from the sermon. I opened the paper up which was folded and neatly tugged in between the pages of my Bible and it was an article dated back in 2009. The title “Patiently Trust His Timing” boldly flashed before my eyes. The contents of the article read:
God’s direction and timing is always perfect and always with a purpose – but it’s often with a purpose we may not initially see or understand. Even when we earnestly ask for direction through prayer and the study of His Word, God’s answers are usually not what we expect and are often perceived as slow in arriving. However, His direction and timing still remains, always perfect and always with a purpose.
God called Abraham to follow Him when Abraham was already seventy-five years old. But God blessed Abraham with great abundance and soon promised he would have many descendants; “I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted” (Genesis 13:16).
Although this was a wonderful promise from God, it certainly did not seem possible. Not only was Abraham an old man, but his wife, Sarah, had never been able to have children and now was long past the normal child bearing years. Therefore, when Sarah failed to become pregnant – when God’s promise was apparently going to be unfulfilled – she formulated a plan to “help” God.
Genesis 16:12 – “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Since this was an accepted practice and seemed like a reasonable way to fulfill God’s promise, Abraham agreed. Not surprisingly, great tension soon developed between Sarah and her maidservant. This tension increased when Ishmael was born and even continues today with the unfortunate hostilities we see in the region of the Middle East. Abraham clearly heard the call and promise of God, but he became impatient with God’s timing and resorted to worldly solution.
It was another thirteen years before God fulfilled His promise through the birth of Isaac. These were thirteen long years of waiting and wondering if God had forgotten … but God’s direction and timing is always perfect and always with a purpose. With Abraham one hundred years old and Sarah ninety, the birth of Isaac left no doubt that God was in complete control and guiding the events in Abraham’s life.
In a very real sense, we are foreigners in this place and time; “Aliens and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13). We will never understand how all the pieces fit together until we stand before the Creator of the universe. Until then, we must continue to love and worship Him with all our heart. We must continue to seek His face and ask His guidance for every step. We must continue to follow His direction and patiently trust His timing.
I must have received this article in 2009 when I started trying to have a baby. The story of Abraham and Sarah reappeared to me the day I miscarried. And today as I struggle with the thought of infertility, God reaffirmed this story and reassured His promise that I will have children.
I have considered adoption previously, but the thought of adoption did not give me peace. In fact, if I had adopted, I would be interfering in God’s plans. Therefore, I vow to love Him, trust Him, and believe Him with all my heart, soul and mind. Pray with me as I made this vow to the Lord. May I seek Him in the midst of troubles and not grow weary. And may I pay undivided attention to His plans for me in my journey of trying to conceive.