What Time Is It?

During the last few years, my husband and I have been through a lot. The four years of active struggle with infertility brought some especially low points. We have found that low points often involve decisions, such as whether to press on in the current course or to admit defeat and change course. The decisions have not gotten easier along the way.

The Bible clearly says that suffering is to be expected and is good in the life of a Christian. I believe that God wrote the story of my life before I was born and that He inserted the suffering chapters intentionally for my good and His glory. Amy Carmichael, a missionary to India, wrote a powerful poem called "Hast Thou No Scar?" about the cost of following Christ: 

Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail thy bright, ascendant star.
Hast thou no scar?

Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Hast thou no wound?

No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And pierced are the feet that follow Me.
But thine are whole; can he have followed far
Who hast no wound or scar? 

The apostle Peter wrote, "Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good" (1 Peter 4:19, ESV). Clearly, we can expect to suffer. 

Okay. Got it. Life is going to be tough. BUT, how does that knowledge affect my decisions? Am I supposed to seek suffering? Am I supposed to intentionally throw myself into the hardest situations? I don't think so. And that is where the decisions get really tricky. When I find myself in a hard season, am I supposed to pull up my sleeves and push through, relying on the Lord to give me strength? Or, am I supposed to change course? If you know, please tell me.

Ecclesiastes 3 seems to suggest that different times call for different actions: 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)

So, what time is it? Last fall, we decided it was time to walk away from infertility testing and treatments. Then, we decided not to proceed with domestic infant adoption. Now, we are in a new season that is, quite honestly, not going well. In the coming months and years, we will have a lot of decisions to make. Although an easy life sounds nice, we do not want ease to be our goal. We want to do what Christ is calling us to, but not push forward when it is time to step away. I am sure many of you can relate. 

If you are one of the many people praying for us, please pray that God will make our next steps clear. We expect the current situation to end eventually, and really have no idea what will be next for us. We had hoped that foster care would bring our "Aha!" moment, but it has not. Maybe foster care is where God would have us for a long time, or maybe not. At some point, we will have to make even more decisions. Thanks for the prayers and support!

A Divine Encounter