Today's Gospel was yet another wonderful opportunity to reflect upon our journey through infertility, and the concept of asking and receiving.
Luke 11: 5-13
"And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, 'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,' and he says in reply from within, 'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.' I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
I have struggled with this scripture throughout our journey, because I know that what I am asking for, a baby, in and of itself, is good and not bad. It’s hard not to ask God why He would deny us a child, when in the Scriptures He says he will grant us good things if we ask...that if only we would ask or knock. Well, we’ve worked with several of the best Catholic NaPro doctors in the country who have an incredible pregnancy success rate, I’ve taken medications that have improved my health in some aspects, but have also, at times, made me ill from side effects, and have lead to large ovarian cysts. I’ve adhered to a strict diet and exercise plan and lost 30 pounds. We have prayed novenas and rosaries, we've been prayed over numerous times, I’ve received the anointing of the sick. We've been asking and we've been knocking…in every way we can think of...and still no baby.
Thus, it is all too tempting at times to think that maybe not everyone who asks does receive. It's tempting to fall into despair and say, "Oh poor me, maybe God forgot about me." And this is exactly where Satan wants me to be..doubting God’s care for me. And so when I am tempted to doubt God's love for me, and am tempted to despair that maybe I'm the one exception to the promise of these Scriptures that those who ask will receive, I push Satan out of my thoughts, and I again put myself at the foot of the cross, at the exact point where He proved the magnitude of His love, and I say, even through my tears..."Jesus, I trust in you. Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I trust in you."
You see, as I have prayed and prayed this Scripture, and as I have continued to contemplate Our Lady’s example of simple trust, surrender, and spiritual joy, it has become clear me that God does not promise we will get what we want, when we want it. That's not what this Scripture is asserting. But rather, as someone once put it, when God delays in answering our prayers, He's either saying "No", "Not yet", or "I have a better plan." So we must always trust that our heavenly Father, knows how to give good gifts to His children. That in all things, His plan is best. And what He says, even in this Scripture, is not that we will get what we want or ask for, but rather, an even better gift. What is this gift? He knows what we are asking for. He knows the desires of our heart and how good they are. What could be better than the gift of life?...the Holy Spirit and union with His heart. And this is exactly what God promises us in the Scriptures today. "If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the holy Spirit to those who ask him?"
Over the course of our journey thus far, I have come to realize that while it seems that God is not answering our knocking or our asking in the way that we would deem best, He is answering it in an even better way. He is omniscient and omnipresent and omnipotent. While His permissive will has permitted us to be without child yet, He has given us an even greater gift--the Holy Spirit and union with His heart. He has given us the even better gift and continues to draw us ever closer to His heart. For this I am eternally grateful.
For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. When you call me, when you go to pray to me, I will listen to you. When you look for me, you will find me. Yes, when you seek me with all your heart, you will find me with you, says the LORD, and I will change your lot.