When I was little, I thought having a relationship with God meant never having hardships in life. That God would magically shield me from all that was wrong with the world. Admittedly, at that age, “all that was wrong with the world” probably meant protecting me from getting a D on my science project. Now, my perspective is different. Bad things do happen to good people. Bad things happen to those who love God and follow his commands. This world is filled with bad choices and heartbreak, and we are all going to go experience pain, loss, sadness and grief no matter who we are and what we believe. So what’s the point, then? Why should we “buy in” to this whole Jesus stuff if it doesn’t protect you from the world’s worst?
Well, this is a topic we could talk about for hours. And yes, I do believe having a relationship with Jesus is THE ANSWER, THE ONLY ANSWER to true happiness. But I can only tell you my experiences, so here’s one:
In a doctor’s office almost four years ago a fertility specialist looked at me (Jeremy and I were actually told separately, that’s another story for another day) and told me my husband and I would never be able to have children naturally. Ever. Nothing could be done to change that. No amount of money and no procedure could ever fix it. Time stood still, my hands went numb, I lost hearing, and I felt like I would never breathe, not really breathe, ever again. Everything about the way I saw my life laid out before me had changed in that moment. Life as I knew and dreamt it would never be the same.
At first I was very angry with God. I have distinct memories of banging my fist on the dashboard of my car in that Tampa parking lot and screaming at Him. I couldn’t understand how He could let this happen to us. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong to deserve this. I was ready to negotiate with Him (which, there is no such thing, but we’ve all been there), I would do anything if He could just take this from us and make it better.
Then something life changing happened in my marriage. After my anger subsided, and my vision was less blurred, I realized for the first time that my husband was reading his Bible regularly. He wasn’t angry with God, on the contrary, he seemed to be coming closer to Him. As my husband became closer to God, our marriage became stronger. I thought our relationship was good, but this was a whole new level. He started listening to me more, respecting me in ways I had never experienced and I felt more loved than I ever had before. He even wanted to go church hunting to find a new church where we, as a couple, could grow. These were words I’d never heard him say before. My husband began to transform in front of my eyes into the man I had prayed to God about when I was a little girl. Into the man I had only dreamed existed.
Here’s what happened next: In the depths of our grief, in the loss of our dream of children, my husband began a relationship with Jesus FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER. Before then, he was just going through the motions. Did he believe there was a God? Yes. Was he going to church with me on Sunday? Yes. Was he a Christ follower? No. This revelation came because we were at our lowest. This new relationship was built on pure trust that God would carry us through. This was NEW.
Here’s what I know now looking back- had God not allowed us to be hit with this awful thing called infertility, my husband may not have ever met Him. Infertility quite literally saved my husband’s life and ultimately our marriage. Without God’s intervention on my husband’s heart, our marriage would not have survived that blow. And God took it a step further, He, in His miraculous grace not only saved our marriage but made it better.
So what’s the point then?
In a doctor’s office somewhere across the country a young woman already has, is, or will soon be receiving the terrifying news that she is pregnant. Terrifying because she has no partner, or maybe she has no family, or because she’s in her junior year of high school and has just started looking at colleges and dreaming about her career. Whatever her situation may be, she knows she could not live with herself if she doesn’t choose life for her unborn baby. Time is will stand still, it will be hard for her to breathe, and everything about the way she saw her life laid before her will change in that moment. Life as she knows it and dreams it will never be the same.