As any couple trying for a child knows, every twenty-eight days you are looking for signs of success.
For many couples, this expectation is met with disappointment for a few months until conception happens. But for others, this monthly cycle of raised and dashed hopes can last for years and become destructive. Proverbs 13:12 describes such an experience well: ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick...’ (13:12a).
That was our experience. After a decade spent trying almost every avenue to start a family—special diets, healing prayer, IVF treatment, an agonizing two-year wait on the Australian adoption list—my wife Merryn and I brought our dream of having a child to an end. By that stage Merryn’s heart was sick: her life marked by tears and her relationship with God in tatters.
Some weeks before that final decision, Merryn and I sat talking about the future
‘If we don’t have a family,’ she said, ‘the thought of life going on as usual is too depressing for me.
‘What would be a nice consolation prize for you,’ I asked her, ‘if we don’t have a child?’
‘I’d like to start again,’ she said, ‘overseas.’
‘If we don’t have a baby, could we move to Europe?’
Merryn’s dream of becoming a mother would soon be denied, but here was a dream that could be fulfilled. Would I help make it a reality? I didn’t like the cost. Fulfilling this dream would bring an abrupt interruption to my career. But as the second part of Proverbs 13 says, ‘a fulfilled desire is a tree of life’ (13:12b), and Merryn needed that new life.
We didn’t know it then but just four months later Merryn and I would be strapping ourselves into a plane, taxiing down a runway, and flying to England where Merryn would get a dream job at Oxford University, and I would get an unexpected opportunity to write a book about the experience. No job can replace a child. Neither can a book. But the fulfillment of a secondary dream indeed brought new life and helped Merryn heal.
Proverbs 13:12 is simple, everyday wisdom. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
What secondary dream might bring new life to you this year?
Whose dream could you help to make a reality?
Adapted from Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings (Thomas Nelson,2013) by Sheridan Voysey, distributed through CLC Wholesale, Joining the Dots Distribution, and IVP Partnership. Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker and broadcaster contributing regularly to Pause for Thought on BBC Radio 2. www.sheridanvoysey.com
July 19th, 2015 - Posted & Written by Together Magazine