Today, Matthew Delaughter is stepping up to the plate again. His first post at the blog was excellent, and this one is no different. Enjoy!
“Yes he walked my road, and He felt my pain, joys and sorrows that I know so well; Yet His righteous steps, give me hope again – I will follow Immanuel!” – From the Squalor of a Borrowed Stable
What comes to mind when you think about Christmas? I imagine some of your first thoughts are celebrating the birth of Jesus, enjoying time with family, the smell of the Douglas Fir in the living room, singing advent songs, eating pecan pie, or maybe all the pretty lights. These are great things that I have enjoyed for many years, but beginning last year, when I think about the incarnation of Christ, my thoughts now run to infertility, the brokenhearted, darkness, and loneliness. You may say, “Matthew, why would you ever think about such horrible things around such a wonderful time of the year? I mean should not a Virgin birth make you think the opposite of infertility?” Well let me first tell a brief story and then explain why I believe these things are related.
A little over a year ago, in early October, Annie and I found out that she was pregnant, and we were overjoyed that the Lord had answered our prayer and was now going to bless us with children. Ever since we found out, my mind was flooded with thoughts of a little football player wanting to be like Daddy, or a little girl with my wife’s beautiful curly hair, and hearing, “Daddy, I love you!” every night for years to come. Well, sadly, the child we were hoping to be blessed with that was in Annie’s womb did not live past six weeks. In my life I have experienced losses such as my grandpa dying and the divorce of my parents, but I was amazed how losing a person, whose eyes I never got to look into, could be so gut-wrenching. And to our worst fears, this would not be the only child that we would lose. Annie and I went on to have 3 more miscarriages throughout the year. We had doctors examine our chromosomes, give Annie baby aspirins and hormone pills, but there was no scientific explanation as to why we kept losing young lives that were already so precious to us. So, why do these awful experiences make me think of the birth of Jesus and vice versa?
I think of the incarnate Jesus when I think about our miscarriages because it is an experience that has deeply grieved my heart, and I am assured in Isaiah 53:3 that Jesus was a man acquainted with grief, and Isaiah 53:4 says, “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Whose griefs and sorrows? Yours! Christ does not see your weeping from a distance but has himself experienced it. I mean, does not the birth of Jesus proclaim this loudly? Look at Bethlehem. This little hick town had no room for the King of the Universe. Mary gave birth to our Lord in an unsanitary, cattle stall amidst the stench of animals, hay, and manure, and then placed our Lord in a food trough. So please do not make your Nativity scene too glamorous, or you may miss the humility, glory, and Jesus’ ability to sympathize with the very things that make you cry yourself to sleep at night. Of all the things that are lost sight of during the Christmas season, please do no lose sight of the reality that you have a God who can sympathize with your weaknesses because of the birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. For those who are single and are tired of lonely nights, was Christ not lonely on the cross as his Father poured out his wrath on him? For the infertile who are brokenhearted when they see their friends hang their baby’s first Christmas ornament, is God not near the brokenhearted (Ps. 34:18)? For those who have been abused or cheated on, has Christ not been abused, and has God not experienced unfaithfulness from his people? Brothers and sisters, this is your hope, and unbelieving friend this can be the hope to your hopeless suffering. If the God of the Heavens is scandalous enough to reveal the greatest news in the world to shepherds, then surely he is scandalous enough to hear your weak cries for help.
I hope in the future to comment further on how to encourage infertile couples and what other options infertile couples have with regards to children.