When you are in a season of infertility, you spend a lot of time thinking about time.
How long you have been waiting. How long you have been waiting in relation to other people. How much longer you will have to wait. How fast the time has gone, how slow the time has gone. The time in between treatment cycles. How long a month can seem, how long one day can seem. Waiting for results. Waiting for appointments.
Waiting for something to happen.
Time. The inside of the bell tower on the island of Bled Lake is all about time. We climbed the steps of the tower on the iconic island in Bled, Slovenia last month. On every trip we try to climb at least one tower, and we crossed it off our to-do list within the first full day. The walk back down to the bottom gives you a view of the interior of the tower, where they showcase the mechanisms and the suspended hardware that keeps the clock ticking. At every landing, there are plaques with quotes on the walls about time.
At church on Sunday I was reminded of this picture I took of this verse from Ecclesiastes 1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” We have sat upfront at our church for probably the last five years, but this past Sunday we sat in the back so I could leave early for an appointment.
I realized after a few minutes why we had stopped sitting in the back. I know that our church has a lot of kids — this is nothing new to me. But something about standing there and seeing the whole auditorium before me, full of families, pregnant women, and newborns, I was overwhelmed. It was one of those Sundays where I barely held it together. I couldn’t sing for fear of completely breaking down. I could only listen.
As my eyes swept the auditorium, I was affronted by how quickly I was filled with bitterness. Why has the timing come for all of these people except for us? If there is a time for everything under the heavens, then I am ready for this time to be over. I am ready for the next chapter. We are told the famous line for attaining our goals is that “timing is everything.” My timing feels so wrong. It’s so hard to believe that it will ever be our time. When will it be a time to laugh, and to dance, instead of to weep, and to mourn? This season has been ordained by my Creator but the overarching memory of the last four years has been the very present pain. It is hard not to feel that this time has been wasted.
“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – Fellowship of the Ring
But it’s not my call. It’s not my call to decide when we have a family. Or to decide when this season will be over. God has sovereignty over time — over my time, and that’s a good thing.
God has planned out the right timing for everything, down to the rising and falling of the tide. He planned the right and proper time throughout all of human history to send his Son. Galatians 4: 4-5 says “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Christ was sent to this earth when the world was ready to receive Him, from the beginning when God ordained it.
Was the time before Jesus came to this earth wasted? Was the time used to prepare God’s people for the coming Savior, wasted? I don’t know the exact reasoning for the moment that God chose, but I do know that He chose it to fulfill His eternal purpose. And His purposes are so much better than mine could ever be, because God is more concerned about the time He is taking to sanctify me than giving me what I think I want.
The next two days I had a line playing in my head from a Matt Redman song we sang on Sunday morning: “Seasons come and seasons go, but You remain.” This won’t last for forever. But no matter how long this season is, He hasn’t changed. His mercy and goodness remain the same. He has control over your timing and mine. And I have to choose how I will spend this time He has given me.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11