When Healing Doesn't Happen
My friend, Kelly, has dealt with a string of annoying and scary health issues for the last five years. Just when it seems the doctors have determined a plan, another problem springs up further complicating her treatment and lengthening her road to recovery. Still, Kelly is one of the most positive women I know. She sends frequent notes of encouragement to her circle of friends and we soak up her words like cats basking in a pool of sunlight on the living room floor.
Recently, Kelly confided in me. "People often ask me, 'What is God teaching you through this?' and I always say, 'You mean not only am I supposed to suffer, but I'm supposed to learn while I suffer?' That's sometimes too much. Suffering is not always about learning anything. It's about sensing his presence right here with me."
With all of the testing, charting, scheduled sex, procedures, medications, and surgeries we endure while TTC (trying to conceive), perhaps attempting to boil down our suffering into a neat little lesson to share with the world is, as Kelly says, too much. Perhaps in searching for the lesson in our pain, we miss the Christ.
Our powerlessness to fix our Infertility can move us to cling to Christ's presence with us and in us, to rest in the truth that Jesus' suffering allows him to comfort us like no one else can. To experience, as the apostle Paul writes about in 2 Corinthians 12, the sufficiency of his grace.
In the middle of failed IVF attempts and tubal pregnancy, I wasted plenty of time searching for the lesson in my pain, begging God for answered prayer in the form of a healthy pregnancy that never did come.
Sometimes instead of physical healing, God offers us a deeper level of dependence on his son. The one who walked around in human skin and bore all of its indignities. The one whose willingness to suffer over two thousand years ago moves him to enter into our pain and emptiness today.
There is no greater lesson in our suffering than finding a place of true comfort and peace. And I must confess that I love this Christ who is not out to teach us a lesson, save to draw us closer to him.