When I was attending Bible college, almost 5 years ago now, a dramatic change in my thinking occurred. Up until that point I had always believed that God would allow limits to my suffering. I tended to see God more in light of Him being my Father, which would somehow spur Him to want to alleviate as much of my pain and suffering as possible. Part of that is true– He is my Father, but He’s also sovereign. He works in ways we often can’t understand at the time. While at Bible college I began to read the biographies of many Christians or missionaries who had suffered in horrendous ways. They had lost their children. Endured starvation. Some were tortured and then martyred for their faith. Many endured great trials and tragedies.
At this point, I was pretty frightened, as I was considering entering the mission field myself. Christians are still being martyred today. Many still endure great pain and suffering. I realized that I was not immune from any of it, not if I truly wanted to follow the Lord. I thought of Jesus’ words to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24). Deny himself. I wanted to do everything within my power to keep myself safe and to live a careful, calculated life. But I couldn’t, not if I wanted to follow Jesus.
Last night my husband and I had a long discussion about how man’s modern philosophies and the Lord’s commands just don’t mix. “Just do what makes you happy,” a lot of people will say. Or, “You have to do what’s right for you.” In our world, success is defined as reaching our full potential, our self-actualization. But nothing could be farther from what the Lord desires of us. He wants us to be obedient, to live to give Him glory in all things. In fact, reaching our “full potential” in the Lord is being completely surrendered to Him, obeying Him in all things, even if it means we suffer or die as a direct result. Even Jesus, fully man and fully God, prayed to the Father, “Not my will, but yours, be done” (Lk. 22:42). The Son of God laid down his rights and his life to be obedient and to glorify his Father. Nothing could be a more powerful example of obedience.
And so I consider my own life, and the fact that we are still childless. I pray and ask God for children, but if I am to be wise I must not count on it happening. Just because the desire for children is great doesn’t mean that God will necessarily allow it. He may have other plans for us– better plans. So I strive to be obedient, to be courageous in this life, children or not. To follow the Lord even if it means never being a mother. Even if it means great suffering. He is faithful to me and will always call me His own. And I will be satisfied because I will be doing exactly what I was made to do. I will be worshiping my Creator.