One week each year a large population of Christian women sit at home while their church is worshipping on the Lord’s Day. They purposefully miss because it’s Mother’s Day – a day set aside to recognize and celebrate motherhood. The day that’s often focused on motherhood and the joys, responsibilities, challenges, and calling of all mothers is often too difficult for infertile women to grapple with – especially if the entire sermon is devoted to the subject. Although I am a man who certainly has never felt the isolation and pain of an infertile woman, the gospel of Jesus Christ should shine in the hearts of infertile Christian women providing encouragement rather than a reproach. Below you will see biblical reasons for infertile women to attend church on Mother’s Day.
Finding our Identity in Christ
It doesn’t matter if you are a truck driver, farmer, fireman, athlete, or a pastor – there is a massive challenge to escape the identity trap. Although there is certainly nothing wrong with enjoying who we are and how God made us or gifted us in this life, there is something dangerous about being chained to that as our ultimate identity. What if something happened to our bodies physically that prevented us from hitting that ball, preaching that sermon, singing that song, driving that truck, or managing that business? Would we find our contentment in our identity as a Christian or would we feel as if we had experienced an identity theft?
It was the year 177 A.D. and a man named Sanctus was arrested and tortured for his faith in Jesus Christ. The torturers asked him a series of questions, but no matter what they asked, he responded with one answer: “I am a Christian.” It didn’t matter to Sanctus what his name was, his occupation, his status in the community, or any other detail. As they placed red hot plates against his most tender parts of his body, he continued to give them one answer – “I am a Christian.” They eventually became impatient with his bold faith, so they martyred him and burned his body to ashes. His body was swept into the Rhone river.
Like Sanctus, we must find our ultimate identity in Christ. We have been rescued and redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Our goal in this life should not be centered on an external status that is often emphasized by the world we live in, but rather our identity in Christ.
Finding our Comfort in the Community of Christ
God has designed humanity with certain needs. One of those needs is community. As we glance around our society we see different communities in our secular culture. As Christians, we are no different. We need the church and should long to be with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Part of that community culture of the church should be centered upon prayer and carrying one another’s burdens. Rather than overlooking one another and causing certain populations of people to be marginalized within the church family, we should spend time in prayer for one another in a biblical attempt to carry the burdens of fellow believers. Notice the pattern of the early church as they gathered together and cared for one another:
- Galatians 6:2 – Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
- Acts 2:45 – And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
- Romans 12:15 – Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
- Romans 15:1 – We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Since it is the duty of the church to care and the responsibility of the Christian to reveal needs to the community, it’s not a healthy pattern for infertile women to remain silent and absent from the church on Mother’s Day. The infertile women and the church need one another.
Finding our Calling in the Gospel of Christ
The ultimate calling of all women transcends motherhood. The ultimate calling of all Christian women is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Learning to be content in all seasons of life and rejoicing in one’s identity in Christ is ultimate – above occupation, status, and motherhood. As we all seek the calling that God has for our lives, we must examine our situation, our obedience to God, and His Word. We must recognize God’s calling based on His Word. He will never lead us down a path that contradicts His revealed and inspired Word. The Bible is not a magic book that mysteriously shows us God’s will for our lives. However, as we learn contentment and radical submission to God through His Word, it’s at those moments – often veiled by darkness and discouragement, that God reveals His will.
It could be that the inability to conceive and have children is one way that God calls specific women to adoption. What a privilege to take an unwanted boy from an orphanage and call him son. What a privilege to hear the voice of an unwanted child call out to his mother. Although many women who have given birth to children feel called to adopt, it’s often in the dark moments of infertility that certain women realize their calling to adopt. Infertility should not remain a hurdle or a prison of discouragement that hinders women of Christ from discovering their calling in the gospel of Christ and their usefulness within the church of Christ. It may be on a Mother’s Day while hearing the gospel preached that an infertile woman is faced with her calling in this life.
Finding our Hope in the Promise of Christ
The hope of all Christians is founded upon our Savior Jesus Christ. The Scripture reveals that He has felt discouragement, rejection, isolation, and shame – all for our sake. Isaiah 53:3 prophesied about Jesus these words, “He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” As we read on, we see that Jesus experienced great discouragement and rejection from His own people. In John 1:9-11, we see a picture of Jesus being rejected by His own people. Yet, we find our hope in this rejected Savior! He single handedly fulfilled the Law of God, died for guilty sinners, became the propitiation for our sins, paid the full atonement for our sins, and was raised to life on the third day as the Victor over death. The Scripture says that in Christ all things are made new (Revelation 21:5).
In Christ, the weeping infertile woman (1 Samuel 1) can find her ultimate hope in the restoration of all things in Christ. What Adam ruined the second Adam has promised to restore. Therefore, in Christ we are promised to see no more death, sorrow, weeping, and pain – for the former things have passed away (Revelation 21). This life is not final and our joy is not determined by the limitations of our physical body here in this life. One day, in Christ, the infertile woman will rejoice as she is made complete and whole.
On Mother’s Day, both the fertile and infertile, the rich and poor, the employed and unemployed, those who can walk and those with paralysis, the seeing and the blind, and deaf and those who hear – all gather with one single hope – the resurrected Savior, Jesus Christ!
I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way.
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave.
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will.
And if You had not loved me first
I would refuse You still.
But as I ran my hell-bound race
Indifferent to the cost
You looked upon my helpless state
And led me to the cross.
And I beheld God’s love displayed
You suffered in my place
You bore the wrath reserved for me
Now all I know is grace.
Hallelujah! All I have is Christ
Hallelujah! Jesus is my life
Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone
And live so all might see
The strength to follow Your commands
Could never come from me.
Oh Father, use my ransomed life
In any way You choose.
And let my song forever be
My only boast is You.1
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning!
Pastor Josh Buice
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1. “Hallelujah All I Have Is Christ” – Jordan Kauflin ( Looked Upon CD)