I love all of the comments I see (mainly on Facebook) that end with, “said no one ever.” They make me laugh.
The latest ones:
“I love snow in late April!” said no one ever.
“I’m glad it’s Monday,” said no one ever.
“No, I don’t want a large sum of money just given to me,” said no one ever.
Here are a few I have come up with:
“No, I don’t want the freedom to eat all the junk food I want without gaining weight,” said no woman ever.
“I don’t want to feel respected,” said no man ever.
“I don’t want to be pursued emotionally,” said no woman ever.
“I would love to walk the path marked infertility,” said no one ever.
The fact is, there are some things that we can all agree on – at least to an extent. Some might be leery of a large sack of money ending up on their doorstep, but if suspicions were laid to rest, most people would be grateful for the extra, unmerited cash given to them. Every man I know needs and wants respect. Every woman I know wants to feel emotionally connected to people in her life. And I have yet to meet someone who has dealt with infertility and enjoyed it.
I think we can all agree that infertility is a form of suffering. The diagnosis, in and of itself, is an indication that the body is not functioning as it was created to function. Living with the diagnosis and understanding the implications lends itself to additional suffering.
How do you handle suffering?
I do not think there is a cookie-cutter description for how to suffer well, but one thing is certain: Our response to suffering will either add to our suffering or move us in a direction of finding comfort. Some of us like to complain. I get that. Some times it just plain feels good to lament. There is a place for that.
Some of us give too much attention to the problem and not enough energy to the Source of the solution. I do not know why it feels “good” to dwell on a problem. There is a sick curiosity that almost forces us to gaze into the pit we are sinking into and before we know it, all we see is the pit. We can not see beyond the pain we are dealing with.
That is why I am encouraged when I read all of the lamenting in the Bible. They are real. They really suffered. Yet, after all their anguish was expressed, they remembered the Lord and his goodness.
For some Christians, there is an unspoken rule that you are not “supposed” to complain or lament. If you do, well, your faith is rather weak. I do not agree with that sentiment. I have seen that the those who lament, crying out to God amidst it, are the ones with the strongest faith. They are the ones who are allowing themselves to feel amidst whatever they are going through, yet they know that the only solution to their circumstances is found in drawing near to God.
Look at Psalm 77 or Psalm 102. (Really, take a moment to look them up.)
Being able to feel the pain is an important part of the healing process. The other part is found in REMEMBERING. We are a forgetful people, especially when it comes to remembering all the good God has done. C.S. Lewis said, “Often we need not so much to be taught as to be reminded.” We rarely need to be taught, just often reminded. We need to ACTIVELY remember what God has done.
Listen to these words from Lamentations 3:19-25, “I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;”
If our hope is in circumstances, we will be disappointed. If our hope is in people, we will be disappointed. If our hope is in ourselves, we will be disappointed. But if our hope is in God, disappointment is kept away. He is the only One who never changes. His goodness and his love do not change.
“‘God will not come through,’ said no lamenter in the Bible ever.” …He WILL come through. He HAS come through. Remember…