A Likeness of Gideon
Starting fertility treatment was a terrifying thing. Not only was I going to be putting my body through an incredible amount of stress, but upon agreeing to try three rounds of fertility drugs, I was opening up my mind to a whole new world of possibility, and opening up my heart for even more heartache.
As it neared the time for me to start my first round, I was overwhelmed with panic as I felt myself becoming more and more hopeful with each passing day. I knew that even with the meds, our chances of pregnancy weren’t good. But regardless of what I knew, I had already opened my mind up to be tormented by possibilities once again. No matter what I’d already been through and no matter what kind of grief I’d already endured, no matter how much I told myself that I shouldn’t get my hopes up and I shouldn’t expect for this to happen, I began believing once again that it would.
I was split in two: one half of me clung to negativity as a sort of solace, as though expecting the worst would somehow guard my heart from future pain, and the other half of me believed completely that this would be how we would come to be parents. Despite the fact that I was continuing to feel the nearness of God more so than ever before, I was still grasping for any kind of affirmation that this situation was going to turn out good in the end, and that I would somehow survive it.
When I was young, I wrestled with the idea of true surrender to God’s will and purpose for my life all the way up until I was eighteen years old. Before then, I never fully understood the concept of my faith being something beyond words rather than something that I merely claimed. I didn’t understand how to live my life as both a human being and a child of God.
I remember one day, I was so completely broken with confusion and consuming disconnect from not only God, but everyone around me. I felt as though I was stuck in some sort of limbo as I struggled to figure out how to navigate living a life as someone who followed Christ without withdrawing from my world and the people I knew. I was overwhelmed by guilt in knowing I wasn’t living my life right, knowing that I sinned on a regular basis for no reason other than liking the sin, not even trying to live my life worthy of the gospel that I claimed to believe in. There were people in my life that were dragging me down that had a firm, unbreakable grip on me. There were things in my life that I wasn’t willing to give up for the sake of the faith I was claiming to follow, and these things were breaking me little by little. One night, in a moment of total despair and unease, I cried out to God for answers, begging Him to reveal Himself to me, to fix my heart, and to help me make sense of my life. God answered me in the form of the story of Gideon.
Gideon was a judge in the bible who was called to lead Israel out of their oppression beneath the Midianites. Even as the Lord was calling Gideon up to lead his people, Gideon not only questioned God’s word as truth, but he questioned God’s intentions for Israel’s suffering. (“If the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about?” -Judges 6:13) And the Lord’s reply: “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “Am I not sending you?” “I will be with you.” Even as the Lord had taken the time to appear to Gideon and promise him protection and strength, even as He promised not to leave him, Gideon questioned the Lord’s promises as truth.
Gideon’s lack of faith led him to not only question God, but to ask God to prove His promises as truth through tests three separate times throughout Judges 6. I realized for the first time when reading that story that I was doing exactly that over and over. Often, we find ourselves hesitating on being obedient to God because we need some sort of physical proof of God’s sovereignty over our lives. We claim that it is our way of seeking out peace over our decisions, yet in reality, it is our way of allowing our fears to control us. Ultimately, our lack of obedience and delayed action as we wait for God to show up and reveal Himself to us is evidence of our own unbelief.
Although my first encounter with the story of Gideon resulted in my surrender to God’s will for my life and a full understanding of my place in His kingdom, it was unfortunately not the last time I struggled with believing in God’s promises. 2017 was easily the most difficult year I have ever had spiritually, one where I have struggled with my faith much more than I would ever like to admit. Though I would have never believed it then, finding out the news of infertility was no where near the worst of the pain I’d have to endure. The worst was no where near over. My decision to try three rounds of fertility drugs was something that left me right back where I’d started all those years ago, broken with confusion and consuming disconnect from not only God, but everyone around me. I began to cry out to God and question Him once more. Where are you? Where are all the wonders you’ve promised? Save me, Lord, before I’m destroyed by this. And God, once again, answered me in the form of the story of Gideon.
I still find myself acting like Gideon on a regular basis. My faith wavers when things get hard, and even though God continues to show up and shower me with promises of His love and faithfulness, I still struggle with believing in His sovereignty over all things. Yet God continues to give me everything I need at the moments where I most need it: promises of His good and perfect plan, promises that this situation will be used for His good and glory, in great and mighty ways, promises of hope and healing, promises of parenthood.
Although God’s faithfulness has never failed me, although He’s never failed to give me promises to cling to, I still doubt, I still fear, I still question. Gideon’s persistence to have God prove to him that His promises were true was a sign of Gideon’s lack of faith. But just as Romans 3:3 says, our lack of faith will never nullify God’s faithfulness. And praise be to God for that. God remained faithful to Gideon and gracious in continuing to send Gideon signs that He would bring Israel to victory, even in spite of Gideon’s lack of faith. God remains faithful to me and gracious in continuing to send me signs of victory over my present suffering, even in spite of my lack of faith.
Like Gideon, God has given me three promises to cling to. The first was through a person, the second, through a dream, and the third, through a sermon. (A Series of Promises, Part I, A Series of Promises, Part II) Why God has believed me worthy of these promises, I’ll never know. What I do know is that I am in the middle of something greater than me. God is preparing me for victory. I am a testimony in the making. He is giving me a story that I can someday use to proclaim His sovereignty and glory to all those who will listen. He is preparing us to raise our family in truth and light. He is preparing our home to be one in which His name is praised and spoken of often. And I cannot wait for that day.
Healing is not instantaneous; it’s gradual. Growth is not a possession to obtain; it is a process to complete. I am choosing to cling to His truths in a time of sadness. I have learned that it’s okay that I don’t understand right now. Because He is in control. He has me in His arms. He has us all in His arms: our family. God has promised me much more than I will ever deserve. He has given me promises of a family, and though this road will likely be long, and though it will not be easy or conventional, I am choosing to believe in that. Because He is faithful and gracious and has allowed me to see the signs of His work in our lives, even at the times where I feel most distant. And I am choosing to believe in Him, now and always.
“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” -Psalm 16:9-11