While continuing in a long season of infertility and loss, I decided I would read the gospel of Luke last December leading up to Christmas. The first chapter started with not one, but two miraculous pregnancies that were promised by God to Mary (Jesus) and Elizabeth (John the Baptist). Simultaneously, I happened to be reading First Samuel which also started out with a promise to the barren Hannah for a child, not to mention the famous story of Sarah and baby Isaac that I already knew well. I lamented, “What about me, God? Is this something you have promised me too?”
Hannah was so distraught over her infertility that she “was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish” and “poured out [her] soul before the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:10; 15) She was such a mess that Eli the priest thought she was drunk. I can definitely relate to her feelings of sorrow and countless prayers; does it resonate with you, too? Are you also hoping to plan that perfect Christmas morning announcement four years (or more) running? If so, please know you’re not alone. I understand the pain so much so I entertained the thought that, through these various scriptures, God was possibly promising me a baby also. I genuinely pondered the idea that He was telling me to keep pressing forward with certainty that our baby would come to fruition if I just asserted this promise into my life with conviction. I was tempted to claim such a promise as my own because I selfishly wanted my waiting to end.
Promises We Can Cling To
Thankfully, God didn’t leave me believing a promise that was never mine, and I pray you are not left deceived either. As much as I wish I could list these stories to encourage us both with an end date to our infertility, we would be selling ourselves short to declare another woman’s promise as our own. Instead, when Satan’s veil of entitlement is removed from our eyes, we can see how the Holy Spirit offers much more than a promise for a baby, but many promises that are ours to cling to with confidence.
Each of these mentioned babies were promised by God for a specific purpose, at an appointed time, to certain men and women, only to allow for the greatest promise of all: Jesus Christ the Messiah and future reigning King. In turn, the Lord invites us to believe in His promise for everlasting life with Him and then provides it immediately upon our belief, giving us blessed assurance. This in itself, if it were the only thing He promised us while we waited for our Earthly lives to end, would be sufficient, but He didn’t leave it at that.
Embedded in the promise of everlasting life is His indwelling Holy Spirit as Helper, a Savior who is near and can sympathize with our weaknesses, who weeps with us, relieves us from our burdens and worries on Earth, and covers our sins for all time. He justifies, forgives, and redeems our lives, making us new creations! He calls us to join Him in reigning in His future kingdom, to store up treasures in Heaven, and to be sanctified in submission to His authority. He is patient, tender, always giving us hope, a purpose, and utter contentment.
I could go on and on, and I do encourage you to keep that list going, but what if we merely resolved to the idea that we should be promised a baby? Perhaps we would miss the abundance the Lord has offered all along in His story from Abraham to John the Baptist and beyond. God is still patiently allowing this story to be revealed completely, but what He has also promised is that despite all the heartache we face of this broken world, He will overcome in the end and bring complete healing and peace to us as believers (John 16:33; Revelation 22:4).
My friend, every detail of these stories points to promises which are indeed for us who simply believe in Jesus alone for eternal life (John 3:16), but the promise of a baby is not one. We can stand steady on the Rock with confident expectation because of the authority the promises are offered on. Anything less would be a temptation to declare what is counterfeit and unrighteous in our lives. Such false promises will never satisfy our true longings, and I don’t know about you, but I want my deepest eternal longings to be satisfied much more than one temporary desire for living biological children.
I started reading through the book of Luke again this year on December first and was met with the same stories, yet a fresh perspective. Desiring a baby is still on my mind and the pain is still acutely challenging, but instead of it clouding my focus, I could align my thoughts on Jesus; not just as a baby in a manger, but the future reigning King on David’s throne, “Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32-33), who would bring “light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:79)! This promise must be enough as we wait for God’s complete redemption.
Not having a child in my arms or in my womb was not my plan this year. I’m so sorry you feel that ache also, but we can glean from young Mary’s response in her similar unplanned circumstances at Christmas. She obediently accepted her trial as a privilege to honor and magnify the Lord for His greater purposes because she trusted His plan and His promises. Most importantly, I believe that Mary wholeheartedly believed God was who He said He was, giving her the courage to believe she was safe to endure His plans for her life. Please join me this Christmas season in reading the Gospel of Luke and claiming promises that are without a shadow of doubt ours; meanwhile, accepting our trials, and waiting patiently with willingness and submission to the Trustworthy One all year long.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior… For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.”–Mary, Mother of Jesus
Luke 1:46-47;49 NKJV