His Faithfulness in the Silence
I switched my not-quite-two year old into a “big boy bed” because we were ready for him to be a big brother and the baby would need his crib. It’d happen quickly, I figured, just like pregnancy happened with him.
But then he grew out of the toddler bed and into a bunk bed, and would ask when he’d have a sibling to sleep on his bottom bunk. He was nearing six years old and this wasn’t how I had hoped things would be.
For several years, the same prayer left my lips in many ways.
Sometimes it was flippant, almost like breathing. Sometimes it was when the clock read 11:11, or when I’d hold my breath going through a tunnel, or blow out the candles of my birthday cake, and each time instead of a wish it was a prayer:
Lord please give us a baby.
Other times it was so much heavier. It was guttural and tear-stained and straight into my carpet because my knees were bent and my face was planted on the floor humbled before the only Power that could answer this prayer.
And yet, the prayer was left answered.
My ONE BLASTED PRAYER.
So I’ll be honest about something, because God already knows and He’s the only one I wish didn’t: I couldn’t help but wonder where God was in the midst of this heartbreaking longing. Was he even with me? Listening? All my life I had wished to be a mom to a stair-step troop of babes and now, not only was that desire not fulfilled, but on the other end was radio silence.
Frankly, I began not just craving a “yes!” and BAM all my prayers answered. I’d even take a “no” or “not yet.” Some sort of validation that He hadn’t forgotten me was all I wanted. But for the first time I couldn’t feel the Lord’s calming presence or hear his comforting reassurance. Instead, it felt like nothingness.
My frustration grew as my painful longing for a baby did, too.
So instead of turning to the Lord, I metaphorically stuck Him in a box and put Him in the garage. Out of sight, out of mind. It had felt as though He had done the same to me, anyhow.
I came down with a bad case of what author Ann Voskamp calls “soul amnesia,” and let my current circumstances cover memories of His past goodness.
But then, in the teeniest, tiniest way, he led my eyes and my heart to a verse:
“When we are faithless he remains faithful.” 2 Timothy 2:13
Our lack of faith doesn’t impact His faithfulness. PRAISE the Almighty for that.
And so, little by little, I exercised my atrophied memory muscles and recalled those times He had been faithful.
I may have been too close to my current circumstances to see His faithfulness in the now, but I could clearly recall examples in the past, over and over again.
As my memory muscles gained back strength, a clear pattern emerged. He pursued me. He wooed me with His love in extravagant and in minuscule ways.
- In the rhythmic crashing of the ocean.
- With that little yellow flower, that against all odds, popped through the cement cracks of our patio in full glory.
- With the sound of rain on my window.
- The way He spoke that verse directly to my heart those years ago as if He was offering me a personal promise:
“The Lord himself goes before you and is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).
- A young son whose simple, innocent prayers could teach me a thing or two.
- The friends he provided who tangibly showed us His love through their presence.
- Healing of a family member’s major injury.
- Restoration of relationships.
- Peace in the midst of turmoil.
The full list is extensive and His intentions are apparent.
He pursued me. He wooed me. He longed for me.
He pursues me. He woos me. He longs for me.
He pursues you. He woos you. He LONGS for YOU.
What are you longing for? What takes up the majority of your thoughts, conscious and unconscious?
From a place of complete humility, can I offer a thought? If your longings have gone unanswered and soul amnesia has replaced your closeness with a faithful God, meditate on His faithfulness of the past. Replay on constant loop how He has been present and trustworthy before. Because, really? The very definition of faithfulness is ‘loyal and constant.’ Unchanging. If He WAS loyal and constant, can you stretch to trust he still IS?
I’m not sure why I had to wait as long as I did for a baby.
Or maybe why I didn’t have to wait as long as I could’ve had to. But she’s here. My longed-for miracle.
While I hold tight and take in the very being of my tiny daughter, I whisper in her ear a truth I want her to know so deeply that it almost aches: “You are so loved and so wanted.” And it’s in that exact moment, I can’t help but sense a divine parallel.
Megan O’Connell is a wife, mom, educator, and unexpected voyager of secondary infertility, Creating and writing are like taking a deep breath for her, and have granted deeply relational experiences by reaching others through life’s yuck along with the fun. Megan is a contributing author to “Mothers in Waiting: Healing and hope for those with Empty Arms.”