How should a Christian deal with infertility?

Question: "How should a Christian deal with infertility?"

The problem of infertility can be a very difficult one, especially for couples who have an overwhelming desire to have children. Christian couples can find themselves asking “Why, Lord?” to the question of infertility. Surely God wants Christians to be blessed with children, to love and nurture them, and to add more souls to His service. For couples who are healthy and have been medically cleared, one of the most heart-wrenching aspects of infertility is not knowing if it is a temporary situation or a permanent one. If it is temporary, how long do they have to wait? If it is permanent, how do they know that and what should be their course of action?

The Bible illustrates the problem of temporary infertility in several stories:
Sarai (Genesis 11:30), later renamed Sarah. God promised Abraham and Sarah a posterity but she did not bear a son, Isaac, until age 90.
Rebekah (Genesis 25:21) Isaac, her husband, prayed fervently, and God answered; later her son Jacob was born.
Rachel (Genesis 30:1) She prayed and at long last God "opened her womb" and bore a son, Joseph.
Manoah's wife (Judges 13:2) Later gave birth to Samson.
Elizabeth (Luke 1:7,36) In her old age gave birth to John the Baptist, forerunner of Christ.

The barrenness of Sarai, Rebekah and Rachel (the mothers of the Israelite nation) is significant in that their ability to finally bear children was a sign of the grace and favor of God toward His elect. However, infertile couples must not assume that God is withholding His grace and favor, nor should they assume they are being punished in some way. Christian couples must cling to the knowledge that their sins are forgiven in Christ and that God will never punish them for wrongdoing, especially not by withholding children from them.

So what is an infertile Christian couple to do? It is good to seek advice from gynecologists and other fertility specialists. Both men and women should live a healthy lifestyle to prepare for pregnancy. As we read about the mothers of the Israelite nation, we see that they prayed fervently for conception, so continuing to pray for a child is certainly not out of line. Primarily, though, we are to pray for God's will for our lives. If His will is for us to have a natural child, we will. If His will is that we adopt, foster-parent, or go childless, that is what we should accept and commit to gladly doing. We know that God has a divine plan for each of His loved ones and is the author of life. He allows conception and withholds conception. God is sovereign and possesses all wisdom and knowledge. (See Romans 11:33-36) "Every good and perfect gift is from above..." (James 1:17). Knowing and accepting these truths will go a long way to filling the ache in the hearts of the infertile couple.

Recommended Resource: Empty Womb, Aching Heart: Hope and Help for Those Struggling with Infertility by Marlo Schalesky.

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How should a Christian deal with infertility?