We have many friends who are waiting. We pray for ten couples who are more than eager to have a child. Some have waited a long time and are losing hope. One has given up. I met with one of these couples recently. Waiting can tamper with two important pictures: how we view ourselves and how we view God. I asked her if waiting had changed her outlook of herself. She answered, “Not now, but it did for a while.”
Haunting thoughts have time to germinate in a restless soul: maybe I wouldn’t be a good mother. Perhaps I don’t have what it takes. Or we transfer the shame to heaven: maybe God is not as faithful as we thought. Maybe He does have favorites, and I don’t happen to be one of them. Maybe He is testing us by not giving us children. Maybe He has disqualified us because of something we did earlier in life. Questions bombard young adults in the waiting room. We feel unprotected, and Satan opens fire. In our weaker moments, we agree with his assault.
My friend said that she has made it through the worst of it. She is now at a place of relative peace. They are thinking of foster children, still with the expectation of having their own as well.
Other friends are hopeful of being married. The clock keeps ticking, and it reminds them of the inner biological clock. Time could run out. Doesn’t God see? Doesn’t He care? Why is He singling me out? Why do five friends get married and I stay single and sad? What is wrong with me? Am I diseased? Am I not beautiful? Do I not have what it takes? I thought I did. I think I do. But no one is budging.
Delay is not denial, but it feels like it. Would it be easier to wait if we knew that the promise would be fulfilled at the end of the time period? Yes, but what if time runs out and still no child, no husband, no job, no future. I want to believe that God sees me and cares, but in my troubled times I doubt it.
In our anxious waiting, we read the words of David and feel that he understands: “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, lest my enemy says, ‘I have prevailed over him,’ lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken” (Psalm 13:1-4).
We feel understood. Someone in the Bible who had a heart for God felt the way we feel. We are being validated. We are not alone and we are not crazy. Maybe we are being heard. Perhaps the answer is on the way.
David concludes his “how long” Psalm with confident words: “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” With you, too!