D. B. Ryen
And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you.
– Psalm 39:7
Late summer cleanout, throwing things out that we didn’t need anymore. Torn kids’ books, broken toys, clothes that don’t fit anymore (sad). Then I found the bassinet I’d made by hand years ago, in hope that one day God would fill it with a baby.
My wife and I suffered with recurrent pregnancy loss for years. Even though our first pregnancy had successfully produced a healthy baby boy, we unexplainably couldn’t carry a pregnancy to term anymore. For us, the joy of a new pregnancy would soon be replaced by the heartbreak of another loss. This happened time and again until our battered hearts couldn’t be happy over a positive pregnancy test anymore. In our experience, pregnancy just brought pain.
We fasted and prayed. We poured out our hearts to God repeatedly, that he’d bless us with more children. Our faith wore thin at times, our hope continually crushed. Yet, in the midst of these dark years, we drove onward. It felt like insanity to keep doing what obviously wasn’t working, but somehow, we still “hoped against hope” (Rom 4:18).
I built a bassinet.
We couldn’t afford much back in those broke college days, so I found some cheap lumber and went to work. I cut and glued and sanded and screwed. Varnish was carefully painted on. I sewed scraps of canvass together on a $20 sewing machine, forming a fabric box that hung from the wooden frame. I measured twice and cut once, and broke innumerable sewing machine needles. I tore up an old pillow for padding.
At the end, I surveyed my work: an empty homemade bassinet. Would it ever be filled?
We turned to adoption, but that failed too. After financial and emotional investment – both of which we couldn’t afford – the pregnant women we were matched with changed their minds at the last minute and backed out of the adoption.
The bassinet remained empty.
Through it all, we never stopped praying – sometimes pleading, sometimes swearing, sometimes weeping. I figured God was big enough to handle our anger, our pain, our bad words. And it wasn’t long before we were praising and thanking him, even in the midst of our despair. Isn’t this how many of the Psalms go? Crying out in pain, frustration, even anger, and then progressing to praise by the end?
Maybe you can relate. You’re in a tough place too, struggling with infertility or some other mountain of hardship. Lost your job? Lost a loved one? Can’t find love? You’ll get lots of well-meaning advice that doesn’t really help much – a lot of silver-lining fluff that doesn’t actually comfort you.
But if there’s anything I learned through “the dark ages", it’s to keep talking to God. No matter what you say to him, don’t ever give up on speaking to Jesus. You can swear or complain or weep – he’s big enough to handle all that. In fact, I think he’d rather you rage at him than not talk to him at all. You’ll soon realize that it won’t be long before you’re on your face before him. Again. Even in the lowest of lows, you can always get your face a bit closer to the ground to worship God.
Our God is the God of hope. It might not make any sense, but hope is the thing that drives us on, the idea that things can be better one day. But when hope is lost forever, the soul dies.
One day we got a phone call that changed our lives: a baby boy was waiting for us at the hospital. Two years later, a baby girl needed a loving home. A year after that, a pregnancy worked out again. Looking back at it now, we had five years of barrenness, and then my bassinet held three babies in the subsequent five years.
I won’t try to sugar-coat your pain or tell you that the sun will shine again. Some people never experience the land of mild and honey they hope for (Heb 11:13). But don’t give up. Pour your heartache out to God. A broken spirit he’ll never turn away (Ps 34:18). Build a bassinet if you need to, but don’t ever lose hope that tomorrow can be better. Your very life depends on it.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”(Rom 15:13)
© D. B. Ryen Incorporated, September 2020.
Adapted from Faith: Mountains, Mustard and Everything In Between.