Wrestling By Faith
I’ve found wrestling with God to be a common occurrence in this season of life. My faith often feels frail as I hope each month for new life to begin in my womb, only to look upon a negative pregnancy test.
God continues to show me my utter lack of control over the conceiving and sustaining of life. He has so clearly derailed our plans as of late. From sickness to imprecise cycles, he’s slowly pulling my fingers back, one by one, from their death clutch on my fertility. I make my plans; he changes them, leaving me swimming in chaos, scanning the world for a way out or a quick fix to my problem. But the world’s answers return void every time.
A Burden That Isn’t Mine
It does feel chaotic to believe life is in my hands. When I begin to live life this way, I think things like…
If I make sure I don’t exercise too much…
If I drink less coffee…
If I take my progesterone at the perfect time…
then, maybe my body won’t fail me. Then, maybe life will continue to flourish. But there are a couple problems with this way of thinking. Firstly, it takes glory from the sovereign God who reigns over the womb. Secondly, when the test is negative or the baby dies, the blame is placed on me.
I exercised too much.
I drank too much coffee.
I didn’t take the progesterone quickly enough.
But God never asked me to bear such a weight. Just as my husband reminded me while tears of weariness wet my pillow, “You don’t have to carry that burden. It’s God who sustains life, not you or the progesterone.”
What freedom is found when we remember such a truth. If I am to be pregnant, God will do it. If I am to carry a baby to term, God will do it.
But what if he doesn’t?
Knowledge That Isn’t Mine
I haven’t looked upon nearly as many negative pregnancy tests as other women thus far. But after a year filled with trying, receiving, losing, waiting, trying, receiving, losing, waiting, and more waiting, I am weary. Every “no” from God stings like hydrogen peroxide in a wound. Somehow, his “no’s” must be healing to my soul, because they come from the mouth of a loving Father. But oh, how they hurt.
They draw out the words of the Psalmist from deep within my soul…
How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death, (Psalm 13:1-3 ESV)
I don’t know how long, and I don’t know if ever. Such knowledge isn’t granted to me.
I can either accept that God is most wise, most good, and completely sovereign, or grasp for answers and control that isn’t mine. I can live out of trust or unbelief. Those are the options.
One leads to joy and peace while the other leads to anxiety and despair.
Wrestling By Faith
I can do no other than be transparent with you, friends. Recently, my faith has been weak. I’ve wrestled with God over my circumstance, wanted to run away, struggled to obey, and hardened my heart. Prayer became unnatural and studying the Bible (something I used to relish in) felt dry.
I find encouragement in the “hall of faith” found in Hebrews 11. There we find many saints listed among the faithful. Some of whom we may not view as faithful ourselves. People like Samson and Sarah. Imperfect people, like you and me.
Surely, if Christ did not hold us fast we would all fall away.
When our faith comes up short, when depression lurks close by, when a soft heart seems impossible, our gracious Savior draws us near and keeps us. He will never allow anything to snatch us from his hand, even our own sin. (John 10:28)
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 ESV)
We wrestle by faith.
A believer’s life is not marked by perfect faith, but rather, ongoing faith. Our trust in the Lord will waiver at times, but it will also grow.
God Knows Best
Friends, this God we serve is intimately working on our behalf to conform us into the image of his Son. He leads us on paths of righteousness, meant to restore our soul. (Psalm 23:3) Truly, “such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” (Psalm 139:6) I believe such knowledge may also be too heavy for us. We need not carry burdens unfit for our weak arms. Let us leave these weighty matters to the One who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and ever gracious.
He knows best.