Searching for peace

 The very last pages of the Bible belong to the book of Revelation. It's a very strange book, filled with vision, prophecy, terror, and hope. It is not a book I have ever or would ever choose to study on my own, however it is the book being studied by some of the women at my church this year. I have been wanting to join a Bible Study for sometime now and as life has mostly returned to normal after the whirlwind of adopting Arie, John taking a new job, and moving our family to a new church, now seemed like a good time. So Revelation it was.

In my fertility journey, I have gone to the scriptures many times for wisdom and conviction. With the exception of the famous last chapter which depicts a new earth and eternal peace, never once have I turned to the book of Revelation nor did the idea even once occur to me. However, I think God is beginning to answer my prayer for peace in this journey by using this most unlikely part of scripture.

If you've been following my journey, you know that I have been desperate to add a child to our family through pregnancy. Desperate. It's not something I've wanted, it's something I've longed for. Infertility hasn't disappointed me, it has brought me to my knees in grief. I haven't been asking God for this gift, I've been begging. I've been desperate. Up until this point when I've tried to imagine living my entire life without bringing a child into the world through pregnancy and birth, I've been overcome with a sense of emptiness and even fear. When I tried, all I saw was darkness. I could not imagine it. I did not want to imagine it either.

I've prayed time and time again that God would ease the ache for me, soften the blow of infertility. Especially if he was not going to grant me my desires.

I'm trying to get to a place where I can imagine my future without a child through birth in it and still have peace.

I'm not there yet, but a few weeks ago I came across a passage in Revelation that gave me a glimmer of hope that I could get there: Revelation 5. The chapter describes part of a vision divinely given to a man named John.

In the vision, John sees God the Father sitting on his throne, with a scroll in his hand. The scroll, I learned, is understood as "the scroll of destiny." The scroll that contains all our futures for all eternity. The scroll has writing on both sides, but no one is able to read it because it is sealed with seven seals. An angel calls out to all of creation and asks, "Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?"

No one can. No one is found who is worthy. In the vision, John weeps and weeps, experiencing great grief because no one can open this scroll. He feels the weight of the lack, the enormous hole.

The another character in the vision- an elder- speaks into John's grief with hope. He says, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." 

And a lamb looking as if it had been slain comes forward, to open the scroll. 

"The Lion of Judah," "the Root of David," "a lamb looking as if it had been slain:" these are all biblical metaphors for one person: Jesus. 

God our Father holds the scroll of destiny in his hands. Jesus is the only who can open it. 

Here's the question in the Bible Study that gave me that very first glimmer of hope that I might be able to find peace in a life with this unanswered prayer: 

If God holds and opens all of destiny in his hands, what is worth holding on to rather than holding out to him? 

Nothing, is the answer. Nothing. 

I'm imagining myself holding onto a scroll with my destiny written on it. I don't know what it says, but I know what I hope it says. I hope it says I get pregnant and give birth to a child. I'm terrified to open the seals on that scroll because what if there's no pregnancy and birth written on it? What if I have to live my whole life with that enormous hole? That lack? 

The author of the study also noted something I thought was very profound: God often allows us to feel the lack

Just as he let John weep and weep when no one was found to open the scroll. 

Just as he made Israel wait thousands of years for their long expected savior. 

Just as he makes us now, as his children, wait for the reconciliation of all things. 

So also he allows me to feel the lack and the emptiness of infertility. I don't know why, but I know I can trust him. 

Jesus was the only one who could fill the lack in John's vision. The only one worthy to open the scroll of destiny. 

Jesus is the only one who can fill the holes in my life, whether by granting my desires or calling me to trust him with the alternative destiny he has laid out before me. 

Truly I cannot begin to understand how faith and prayer and the choices I make and the destiny God lays out before me all work together. 

What I know today is that it gives me peace to imagine myself handing over the scroll of my destiny (and all the worries and fears I have about it) to Jesus. It gives me hope to imagine that as he opens it for me, I can have faith that whatever is written there for me is perfect, even if it's not the story I would have written for myself. For the first time ever, I have been able to entertain thoughts of a future without pregnancy and birth and not become desperate. 

I'm still searching for total peace about my infertility. But somehow with the vision of my destiny- and all destiny- secure in the hands of God, I can finally hope that I will be able to get there. 


PS: For anyone interested, the Bible Study we are doing is Beth Moore's Here and Now, Then and There series. This is my first Beth Moore study, but so far I can say I recommend it! This one is a 10 week DVD series and it fairly expensive (about $115), but if you are able to purchase it with a group or if your church has funds for this kind of group study it might be worth checking out!

1 comment:

  1. Such a wonderful post. We all crave knowledge and understanding and yet God does not provide that in full to anyone. For now, we know in part.... :) God is already accomplishing great works in you. He has cared for so many people through your gentle words and faith. My husband and I have a beautiful 3 and a 1/2 year old daughter and are so thankful for her every single day. But we long to have another child - 2. 5 yrs of trying the old fashioned way and 1 year trying to adopt through foster care. And yet still no child. Yet. :) But we trust in the Lord that He will make a way, that He hears our prayers, and will use our struggles with conceiving and adopting so that others might see our faith and know Him too.


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