Survivor's Quote: It was a time when we both wondered what we had done to deserve this. God had answered our prayers by bringing us together, so where was He now? Jeff was able to pray through it more than I could. I wanted to know where God had gone and why He didn’t allow me to get pregnant! (Joy)

We inadvertently think a close walk with God will give us some assurance of getting out of life the major things we hope for: health, a happy marriage, healthy children, and at least the basics in food, water, and shelter. When a major foe enters the picture—like cancer, job loss, or infertility—it doesn’t take long for us to judge our experiences as unjust and unfair.

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Because it is unjust. It is unfair. There’s no logical reason why immature, foolish teenagers get pregnant, but a mature, established couple can’t. There’s no fairness behind why millions of women abort their babies, but you can’t carry one to birth. There’s no justice behind the millions of children languishing in orphanages around the world, as well as children’s homes and child welfare systems in our country, but they can’t be matched with all the parents who want to give a child a loving home.

The hardest thing to come to terms with is that God doesn’t operate by our definition of fairness, nor does He dole out blessings only to those who deserve them. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45).

We conveniently forget that this God from whom we’re demanding our version of fair play is also the God Who chooses not to condemn us to eternal death. This is the same God Who provided redemption through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is the God Who pardons us when we confess our sin and accept His path of forgiveness and restoration.

But we can’t just say, “Oh, life isn’t fair? Thanks for the information.” We can’t just get on with life even though we acknowledge that truth. The spiritual implications of infertility put deep gouges in our faith. We feel anger toward the God we love. That anger makes us question our faith—is it wrong to be angry at God? Am I doing something that keeps Him from answering me? Why would a God of love let me experience this? We feel God has double-crossed us, even betrayed us by not giving children, especially when we’ve made it perfectly clear we want to raise them to love and honor the Lord. And in the midst of struggling with negotiating the whys, we have to figure out how to maintain our walk with God, or if we even want to. We know we should hang on to God during this trial, but we find ourselves less than anxious to pray and meditate on His Word when all we can think of is that we’re really ticked off with our Creator.

“I don’t understand, God” and “I don’t understand God”
The comma changes the meaning of the sentence, but both statements are common cries in infertility. We don’t understand why God allows these horrible things to happen to us, which leads us to admit that we just don’t understand God like we thought we did.

The intersection between faith and the quest for parenthood is wrought with questions, many of them being “if…then” questions:

If God loves me, then why isn’t He giving us a child?

If I’m a believer, then why isn’t God answering my prayer?

If we’re committed to raising a child in a godly home, then why can’t we have a  
            child as easily as those Hollywood stars who just live together for years?

If I’m doing my part as a Christian, then why isn’t God doing His part as provider?

What have your questions sounded like? What questions would you add? Jot them in the margin.

These questions fall into the category of “I don’t understand God’s ways.” No kidding. We don’t understand why God gives babies to unmarried movie stars, to child abusers, and to people who won’t give a child a stable, loving home. Just this week in our city, a well-to-do CPA shot his two daughters, ages 6 and 9, in the head, because he wanted to permanently hurt his ex-wife. Why did God allow a man like that to be a parent?

Instead of chasing that rabbit, let’s move to the bigger issue: Why does God let bad things (like infertility) happen to good people (like Christians)? That question naturally takes us to others: Why do so many bad people have rampant fertility? Why does pain afflict those who choose righteousness, who try valiantly to live according to the lifestyle described in God’s Word? 

We don’t understand why God doesn’t readily answer the prayers of decent, God-fearing, infertile people. But God never promised us that in our earthly understanding and limitations, we would be able to comprehend His ways. Instead, He says the opposite: “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isaiah 55:8-9, NIV).

Bridget’s baby died of SIDS. Meg’s children all drowned in a boating accident. Elizabeth’s long-awaited baby died at birth. Many of you reading this book have already lost a baby, yet you still have to fight infertility for the privilege and risk of bearing another. These unanswerables grip our hearts with grief. No, we cannot understand why God allows such horrible losses to happen. In this life, we simply will never have the comprehension to understand completely. So where do we go from there?

Other topics covered in this chapter:

Learning to live without understanding
Many Christians can’t bear to live without understanding why they’re being subjected to tragedy. They look and look until they can find reasons for it, such as:

*Did someone come to know Christ because of my pain?

*Did I experience personal spiritual renewal because of walking through this valley?

*Did someone return to their walk with God after seeing what we’ve been through?
*Have I become more equipped to comfort others because of my experience?

Trying to find the reason why is really just searching for a spiritual/psychological Band-Aid® to stick on your heart and mind. Seeing that God brought something good out of our pain will (we hope) help us to balance those scales of eternal justice. “Oh, so that’s why God allowed it.”

So how does God work?
We live in a world that is subject to imperfections, and our faith doesn’t make us immune to experiencing those imperfections. Infertility is one of those imperfections.

More questions that bug us
The questions you ask during trials make us dig deeper into our faith. The questions themselves are neither good nor bad, so don’t berate yourself for asking the questions. (And don’t let anyone else do it either.)

  1. Is my infertility a punishment because of a past sin in my life? Punishment, no. Consequence, maybe….

2. Questions related to “broken” areas of our lives.
When our prayers hit on issues like trying to dig up unconfessed sin, unresolved relationships, and areas of disobedience, we’re focusing on the broken aspects of our  lives. It’s tempting to think that if we fix all the broken areas, then God will be happier with us and give us that baby we’ve been praying for. Of course, it’s a good idea to look for unconfessed sin in your life, to go apologize as needed, and to follow the urges you get from God regarding ministry, but what’s driving your desire to fix those broken areas?


Cause-and-effect questions.

If you do something, then God will be expected to respond in a predictable way. I’ve been faithful in my walk with Christ since I was a child, so why isn’t God answering my prayer? That kind of thinking sets you up as the one who can control, influence, or manipulate how God acts or reacts….

4. Where’s God in all this?
When life is great, we see God’s hand in everything, from little things like parking places that open up at the right moment to big things like extra money that just turns up in the checking account. But when life hits rocky terrain, the handiwork of God frequently gets overlooked because we’re focusing on the bigger problems in our lives. Oh, you’re still looking for His hand in your life, but it’s primarily in the big prayer requests—that an IVF will work or that a new job will get you out from under financial strain. The importance of the issue changes how much we focus on it. Big issues, big focus, thus no time to look around at the smaller details of life….

5. Does God still love me (because I sure don’t feel loved)?
“The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness’” (Jer. 31:3, NIV).

After enduring infertility, we couldn’t believe that God would then allow our new baby to have significant medical problems. As we left the children’s hospital after learning that Ryan was profoundly deaf, I realized that the previous medical wallops had really taxed my spiritual reserves. This one, though, had sapped the leftovers; I’d never felt more spiritually empty in my life. I broke the stunned silence as we drove home: “You know, Eddie, through all the difficulties, I never questioned that God still loved me. But right now, I sure don’t feel very loved. God’s way of expressing love must be completely different than what I’ve always thought it was…. 

6. Is it okay to be angry with God?
Yes, and it’s okay to tell Him about it. In fact, it’s rather ludicrous not to. God already knows every fragment of thought that crosses your mind—past, present, and future. To not tell Him is just depriving yourself of the freedom to be honest with your Lord. He can handle your outbursts. He’s willing to hear your frustrations. He is the safest audience you could ever hope to find….

Communicating with God…in silence
Like a runner who pulls a hamstring and can only limp along in excruciating pain, infertility cripples your walk with God. Infertility doesn’t gallop into your life as a lone rider stirring up trouble. No, it’s usually accompanied by problems at work, frustrations with family and friends, tension in your marriage, and personal insecurities. So while you’re trying to cure your infertility, you’re watching the rest of your life crumble, too. Hello, God? A little attention over this way would be appreciated….

How other couples have survived spiritually
1. Be open with God about your feelings, even the ugly ones….
2. Journaling helps you vent….
3. Strive to stay consistent in your time with God….


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All excerpts from "Infertility: A Survival Guide for Couples and Those Who Love Them," © 2002 by New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, Alabama.   Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from the Holy Bible, New International Version, © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.  | website design