Pastor John how would you care for a young couple coming to terms with their infertility and feelings of failure? What would you want them to know about God in light of his apparent withholding of the blessing of children?
I would want them to know that God is sovereign and that Satan does not have the upper hand here. And infertility does not have the upper hand here. God always has the upper hand, because he is God.
And then I would want them to know that God is good. I just read yesterday, “Good and upright is the Lord” (Psalm 25:8). And then I would want them to know he is wise, infinitely wise, and his timing, his giving, and his withholding are all done in an infinite wisdom as he shapes and guides our lives for our ultimate good and for the glory of his name.
I would want them to know that God can give life and, therefore, I would covenant with that couple to pray with them every day. I would lay my hands on them, and I would ask “God, give them life. Give them a child, Lord. Whoever is infertile here, work a miracle, O God, if you would be pleased to do this.” I would ask for it.
“God is sovereign, and infertility does not have the upper hand. God always has the upper hand because he is God.”
And if God then chose not to do it, I would remind them “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11). That is probably one of the hardest verses for a mom or a dad to hear in that situation. “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly,” which means that for whatever reason this withholding right now is good. God has something good.
Seek the kingdom first and all that you need will be added to you. If there is a thorn in your flesh and this thorn might be infertility, ask God: What are you doing with his thorn? And he is going answer: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
A Monument and a Name
So I would probably end by taking them to Isaiah 56:3–5. And I go to this text because I have talked with a few women at Bethlehem who have found amazing comfort in it. It goes like this:
“Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will surely separate me from his people.’ And let not the eunuch say, ‘Behold I am a dry tree’” (Isaiah 56:3).
So there is a person who can’t sire children or bear children. Don’t say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
“For thus says the Lord: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off’” (Isaiah 56:4–5).
I know this passage is hard to feel and hard to believe, but that is what faith is. Faith takes a verse like that and says, “Ok, you have withheld from me my desired son or daughter. And you are going to give me a monument and a name better than sons and daughters.” That is simply amazing. And I think we ought to hold fast to it.
Jesus never had children, and Paul never had children, and I am sure they looked at little children and thought, “Now that is a joy that I would love to have. But God withheld marriage and children from those two men and gave them, instead, a monument and a name both in this life and in the life to come that is superior.