If you were watching a husband and wife endure multiple unsuccessful attempts to start a family, could you do so with a smile on your face?
The other day my daughter and I were watching an old episode of "The Little Couple" from before they became parents. In the episode, they were in the middle of their second attempt to transfer their embryos to their surrogate, not long after their first attempt had resulted in a miscarriage.
I watched with mixed emotions as Jen and Bill hoped and desperately prayed that this second transfer would result in the start of their family.
The thing is, I already knew it wasn't going to go that way. That's the benefit of watching a 2011 episode in 2015.
And so my heart was partially heavy for them, knowing that their fervent hopes for this procedure to be successful would soon be dashed.
But I also knew that this devastating disappointment would be the very thing that would point them down the path on which they would eventually adopt their two beautiful children. And so even though I was watching this sweet couple face the heart-wrenching outcome of their efforts to start a family, I had this grin on my face thinking of the redemption that I knew awaited them: A son, Will, whose story would begin in China, and their daughter Zoey, born in India. As dark and disappointing as that season of loss was for Bill and Jen, their joy is great in this one.
When we are in the hardest of days, the longest of seasons, the times that tear at our soul, we don't have the luxury of the big picture. It's hidden from our eyes. All we can see is that things are as we never would have chosen them to be.
But we dwell in the safe hands of the One with the benefit of the big picture. While we writhe in pain, He perceives the beauty that awaits.
And so in the thick of it all, remember that Jesus wept over Lazarus' death, even though He knew full well that He would soon raise his friend. He isn't unmoved by our suffering even when He knows the goodness and redemption that await us. That is a kind of hope that is truly unmatched by anything else we can find in this world.
Thank You, Jesus. For working all things together--even the things we would never voluntarily have chosen on the front end. Thank You for exchanging beauty for our ashes. You are El Roi, the God who sees. Give us strength to cling to You.