Faith That Moves
Our lives overflow with expectations, hopes, and dreams. Some are met, while others remain unanswered. As much as the joy of fulfilled hope is real and uplifting, the heartache of unmet expectations is painful and confusing. In Margaret’s story, both realities are present.
Throughout their 10 years of marriage, Margaret and her husband have been walking through a long season of infertility. For Margaret, this painful journey began with reproductive health issues in her teen years. Since then, her life has been riddled with doctor appointments, treatments, and surgeries. Relief has come, prayers have been answered – there have been a series of experiences in my life where the Lord has stepped in and brought healing, both physically and emotionally – but the long journey continues to be a roller coaster ride. On a few occasions, Margaret has possibly conceived and miscarried, but because it was too early, the doctors could not confirm either way. It is an interesting emotional roller coaster because you’re aware that life is a gift from God, and you have no control … It is a roller coaster because every month there’s hope, and every month there’s hope dashed.
In addition to infertility, as an adult, Margaret learned that she is in premature ovarian failure. With this diagnosis, Margaret is experiencing early menopause, and the hope of having children one day only grows dimmer. I would say that the experience of finding out, being told, that you are in menopause early, and that there’s nothing doctors can do – there’s no treatment, you will not be able to ever have children – it’s a little bit like losing all of your children at once.
In the face of incredible sorrow, Margaret is blown away by the grace of God as she learns to bring her pain and questions to the Lord in prayer. At times though, her emotions feel far too scary to bring to Christ – does this mean you don’t love me? Does this mean you want me to suffer? … In my head I know that He’s God and He’s good, but in my experience, it doesn’t feel good. And I don’t understand how this could be for good.
As the questions flooded in, Margaret found conviction and renewed hope as she pressed into the truth of Scripture. What did God’s Word have to say about faith and dependence upon Christ amid painful circumstances and startling doubts? In John’s account of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead, Mary, Martha, and the Jews exhibit varying levels of faith in Christ’s healing power. While Martha believes Christ will raise her brother to life, the others are not as sure. In this story, belief clashes with unbelief. Captivated by what Christ wanted to reveal to her through this passage, Margaret began to see the significance of faithful trust that pleased the Lord and disbelief that perturbed Him. The presence of a painful reality – the death of Lazarus – exposed the true colors of people’s trust in Christ’s power and ability to restore life.
… Here He is, the God of the universe, more power in His pinky finger than we can even comprehend. What is it like for Him to know that He has all power in Heaven and on earth and have people not only think that He doesn’t care enough to come and help … but that He’s impotent, He’s unable? What’s it like for Jesus? I mean truly that’s a disrespect – not acknowledging that He’s able and powerful and thinking He doesn’t care is so contrary to His nature.
The rich truth of this passage – faith moves Jesus, lack of faith perturbs Jesus – came to life for Margaret in light of her own seemingly hopeless circumstances. Her faith was strengthened as she came to trust in who Christ is – He is trustworthy, He is good, and He is for me. Her prayers moved from questioning, “How is this good?” to “I believe that You are good.” It’s a daily struggle, Margaret admits; some days … I believe it with all my heart. Other days, the physical and emotional pain feel more than overwhelming.
The answers may not come; complete healing and physical restoration may not be given this side of glory, but whatever lies ahead, Margaret is standing in faith, depending upon who Christ is and who she is in Him. I am beloved daughter, and He’s not going to throw any of this away. He’s allowing it because He has something better in mind, even if I can’t see it, and He’s worthy of trust. Who He is, and who I am in relation, is more beautiful and complex than why this particular thing.