The challenge of infertility is heartbreaking regardless of one’s belief system. Whether you are Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Muslim, or practice some other faith, it hurts to be faced with an unmet desire to grow your family.
But should Christians be expected to cope with infertility differently than those who practice other belief systems? How should a Christian cope with infertility?
First, know that God loves you and that you can be transparent about your feelings.
“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”Hebrews 4:14-16
Because of mercy, you can be honest about the true emotions that surface due to the challenges of giving birth caused by infertility. Through grace, you can find the peace to rely on God during this time of despair.
Joy Bennett-Thomas, author of “Infertility Hurts,” speaks with The Full Circle Ladies about her struggles with infertility and what she is doing to help others who’ve experienced the same pain.
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Secondly, don’t punish yourself or your spouse by pointing blame or falling into an abyss of negative emotions. Your feelings are important, but if they begin to overwhelm you, you may need to shift your focus instead of taking desperate measures.
You never know what God has in store.
Remember Sarai? She was thought to be barren and chose to take matters into her own hands by instructing her husband Abram and her servant Hagar to sleep together so that she may have a child through Hagar. This act roused up confusion between Abram, Sarai, and Hagar, but Sarai’s servant bore a son, Ishmael (Gen. 16).
Nothing is Too Hard for God
What Sarai did not expect was for God to keep His covenant with Abram. God reminded Abram of His promise that if Abram faithfully served God and lived a blameless life, that God would bless Abram with countless descendants as the father of many nations. This covenant would also passed on to Abram’s descendants. God changed Abram’s name to Abraham, meaning father of many in Hebrew. Sarai’s name was changed to Sarah, and God promised that she would give birth to a son (Genesis 17).
A year later (fourteen years after the birth of Ishmael), Sarah gave birth to Isaac, just as God promised.
Infertility may or may not be God’s final answer for you. Either way, it is best to seek Him and not take the reins from God by taking matters into your own hands.
Hannah’s Prayer of Anguish
In the first chapter of I Samuel we meet Hannah – one of the two wives of Elkanah. Elkanah’s other wife, Peninnah, would ridicule Hannah during the family’s annual ritual sacrifice at the Tabernacle because she had not bore children. This saddened Hannah.
From the perspective of Hannah’s husband, though, there was no reason for her to feel disheartened because she had him. His idea was that she really wasn’t missing out on anything because being married to him was even better than having children.
Hannah’s heart was still broken.
One year during their annual visit to the Tabernacle, Hannah offered her pain up to God in prayer instead of sticking around to listen to Peninnah’s teasing after dinner. The Bible says that she was in “deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord” (I Samuel 1:10).
Hannah did not shy away from her feelings; she was transparent to God. She also decided that God would be the one to offer her a solution; she did not create her own solution. Hannah prayed so fervently that the priest Eli thought that she was drunk on wine.
After explaining that she was speaking to God from the depths of her heart, Eli sent her on her way and wished peace upon her and prayed that God would grant her request.
No More Tears: Hannah’s Prayer of Praise
Hannah’s sorrowful prayer to God lifted the heaviness of sadness from her heart. God blessed her with a son, Samuel, and she offered him back to God as she had promised (I Samuel 1:19-28).
She then prayed a prayer of praise.
For years, Hannah was devastated by Peninnah’s taunts. But when she shifted her attitude by focusing on God instead of Peninnah’s negativity, God alleviated her pain.
Hannah then prayed a prayer of praise to God (I Samuel 2:1-11).
There is more than one way to respond to any situation. Christians faced with infertility have every right to express their true feelings to God. After expressing the agonizing pain of not being able to give birth, like Hannah, you can then trust God to prepare you for what comes your way thereafter.