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Is My Infertility a Punishment?

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This is the blog post I never wanted to write and the words I never wanted to say.

Probably the biggest lie I have had to wrestle to the ground these past few years is that my infertility is a punishment.

Punishment.

From God.

For my past.

For my sin.

Now I would never say this out loud, nor would I let any of you.  But I think it all of the time.

And there are days, those hard, dark, painful days that I actually believe it.

Because I know my past, I know the depths of my sin, and I know how far I was from the LORD.

I also know there is a kind of suffering that is unexplainable, and so you start reaching for explanations.

***

When I found out the medical explanation for much of our infertility, I was actually relieved, maybe even thrilled, because there was finally a cause, a reason, a diagnosis that I could treat.

And then when we started treating each of those diagnoses with surgery or medicine, and still no success, things got dark.  Each month that passed made us feel more empty.  And in our emptiness, our wall was being filled with pictures of newborn babies.  Other people’s newborn babies.

 

We can’t always make sense of suffering.

 

And every new birth announcement we received in the mail that had James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above”, printed across the top, made us wonder why we were not worthy of this gift.

And no logical explanation could suffice, other than punishment for my sin.

When Job suffered, there was no logical reason as to why.  Job, his friends, his family couldn’t understand why.  So just like we would do, they started to fill in the gaps, trying to find answers as to why God would allow this.  They began saying it was because of this reason or that reason, or maybe because there is some hidden unconfessed sin in his life, and they tried to make sense of suffering.

And I’ve done the same.  Because I can’t stand not knowing the “why” behind the pain.  And the only explanation would be punishment.  I deserve this.  For all of the sinful things I’ve done in my past, of course this would happen.  It only seems fair/even.

But that’s the thing.

We can’t always make sense of suffering.

It wasn’t until I was singing the words “all condemned, feel no shame, at the sound of your great name” in church (and wanting to hide under the table) did I realize God is not punishing me.

He is not punishing me for my sin, because He’s already taken that punishment.

The LORD is not dealing with my sin by making me infertile.

He dealt with my sin on the cross.

God will not punish me for my sin if Christ has already taken the punishment.  And me believing that my infertility is a punishment is not trusting in the finished work of Christ.

Thinking I needed, or deserved, more punishment for my sin than the punishment Christ had already taken, was really, really bad theology.  And it’s not the gospel.

 

He is not punishing me for my sin, because He’s already taken that punishment.

 

Religion tells us God is looking on our deeds and punishing you when you step out of line.  The gospel, the good news of Christ, is that He chases you down when you were far from the line, and brings you back in.  Time and time again.

The one reminding you constantly of your sin and the punishment you deserve is not the God of grace, but the Accuser from Hell.  Trying to remind you that God’s wrath is still being poured out on you because Christ’s death wasn’t enough.

Job’s suffering wasn’t a result of his sin; it was actually a result of his faithfulness.  And that is so beyond my understanding.

And in Christ, my suffering, your suffering, isn’t punishment for sin.  It is a means to be sanctified on earth and glorifying our father in heaven.

Has your suffering caused you to doubt your forgiveness?

How does knowing suffering draw you closer to God and change your perspective?

When there are no logical answers to suffering, can you trust that God is good and for your good no matter what?

16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

 

 

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Melissa Danisi

About

Melissa Danisi is the Co-Founder of Self Talk the Gospel and serves at The Well Community Church, encouraging and equipping women by teaching God’s word and shepherding leaders. Her greatest passion is to see women walk in the freedom of the Gospel and grow in their love of Jesus through the study of Scripture, which led to writing bible studies on Ephesians, Philippians, Sermon on the Mount, Spiritual Disciplines, and most recently Genesis. She recently received her Master’s Degree in “Pastoral Care to Women” from Western Seminary and has been married to her very Italian husband since 2006.


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  • Lisa

    Thank you for writing this. I’ve been going through some difficult times and have often thought that I’m being punished for my past sins. Reading your blog post reminded me that it’s not from God but the accuser who continues to whisper to me all of my sins and how I deserve to be in the situation I’m in. I have to remind myself that the enemy was the one causing pain and suffering in Jobs life not God. I know that God can prevent things and many times in life he does but I have to accept that God has a greater plan and that all things work for good who love the Lord.

  • Dorina Gilmore

    Oh friend, this is so vulnerable and so powerful. Nothing compares to that eternal weight of GLORY. Lead on, sister! Grateful to call you my friend in suffering but also my friend in chasing hard after our Savior.

    • Melissa Danisi

      Thanks for reading! Writing about this is not my favorite, but I know MANY suffer and ask this question. I am so grateful for friends like you who suffer well.

  • 1Furloughed1

    Although I didn’t suffer infertility, Melissa, I can identify with so much of what you’ve shared here. Three years ago, my husband of 17 years left me and our now 13-year-old son to pursue a homosexual lifestyle. I’ve wrestled with wondering, had I pursued my relationship with God more diligently, whether my life would’ve turned out this way. Your post has encouraged me. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • http://ahomecalledshalom.blogspot.com Ally V

    Yes, yes, yes! Amen!

  • HH

    Thank you. People tell me this is God’s will, He will give me a baby if He wants me to have one, or God must want me to do something else. It is thoughtless and cruel. As if God decided I eas unworthy and decided to sterilize me.

    The week of my miscarriage a man in my town beat his toddler to death. I do not believe God judged child abusers more worthy of parenthood than me!

    Your words should be published in church support groups where others can read, reflect and realize that their sentiments are not of God as welll as insensitive.

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