Invisible Loss: Understanding the Pain of Infertility

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I originally wrote this in 2017, before we adopted our incredible baby girl in 2019. Since her adoption, the pain of infertility has been greatly soothed with the salve of love and presence and unspeakable joy. The Lord truly has restored “the years that the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). Nevertheless, this post has meaning, and I pray it continues to serve those who read it. If you are struggling with infertility, know you are not alone; you are, to the degree shared experience allows, understood, and you have hope in Christ who will wipe your every tear and swallow up death in life (1 Cor 5:4).

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My wife is infertile. We will be married five years this October, and we’ve been trying the whole time. The causes are complex; they affect more than her fertility; and solving one will not solve the others. The doctors want her to schedule a hysterectomy, because her quality of life is so low, but giving up is not yet an option for us. So, we continue with treatments. If there’s anything we’ve learned on this path, it’s that infertility is hard. In so many ways, it’s hard – emotionally, relationally, physically. Infertility leaves no facet of life untouched. It’s pervasive and defining.

But why is it so hard? That’s a difficult question to answer, and that’s part of the problem. Our inability to answer that question is at the very root of infertility’s relational pain. I wonder if we consider seriously enough the link between the depth of our knowledge of a person and the quality of our love for that person. If I can’t understand you, how well can I really love you? Consider this quote from Francis Schaeffer:

 Love is not an easy thing; it is not just an emotional urge, but an attempt to move over and sit in the other person’s place and see how his problems look to him…The reason we do it is that the one before us is the image-bearer of God, and he is an individual who is unique in the world. This kind of communication is not cheap. To understand and speak to…people is costly. It is tiring; it will open you to temptations and pressure. Genuine love, in the last analysis, means a willingness to be entirely exposed to the person to whom we are talking. (The God Who Is There, Schaeffer, Francis, p. 120)

That is the kind of love to which God has called his children. 

Continue reading at Morning by Morning >>

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The Cost of Personal Belief: What Kaepernick’s Nike Commercial Has to Do with Christians

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August 26, 2016, NFL ‘49er’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is noticed kneeling during the National Anthem and is promptly thrust into the national spotlight. In short order, the nation divides itself over the issue, such that perhaps no sports figure in recent years has elicited more, or more volatile, criticism. September 5, 2018, Nike releases their 30th anniversary Just Do It commercial and begins plastering Kaepernick’s face across cyberspace, along with the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” To say that Nike’s campaign has been incendiary is to speak literally; disgruntled consumers throughout the Twittersphere took to burning their Nike gear in protest.

Whether you’ve found yourself kneeling in your Nikes alongside Kaepernick, bonding with your buddies roasting your exhumed swooshes over a bonfire, or scrolling haplessly through your social media feeds wondering why your cute cat videos have been replaced by smoking sneakers, you’ve been impacted by Kaepernick’s actions. It seems safe to say hardly anyone in the U.S. has escaped the social media firestorm. One man taking a knee has caused an entire nation to bend its ear.

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COVID-19, Conspiracies, and Conversations

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In this compelling article, and a corresponding tweet, columnist Jonah Goldberg proposes we consider COVID-19 the “Confirm Your Priors Virus.” His argument: that politicians and their parties will all see this virus through the lens of their already-held opinions of what’s wrong with the world and what we need to do to fix it. That is, they’ll all see it through the lens of their “priors.”


I think we’ve all seen this play out in near-exact fashion to what he described. But one group Goldberg didn’t mention is a group currently dominating many of our news feeds: conspiracy theorists. 


The difference between politics and conspiracy theories is the latter have rarely had such a large platform. We aren’t all looking at Big Pharma, Bill Gates, Big Tech, the Deep State, vaccines, and the like. But we are looking at the pandemic and the response of major players thereunto. Consequently, we’re looking at what many conspiracy theorists consider “evidence.”


As far as I can tell, it’s not that the pandemic response is itself compelling – look closely enough at the allegations, and they begin to disappear because they are so thin. The issue, rather, is that those who held conspiracy theories to begin with have found a way to fit the current crisis into their already existing narratives (as we all have). That is to say, the people who believe there’s some sort of dark agenda behind the response to the pandemic thought there was an agenda before the pandemic. For most, it seems, the pandemic response isn’t causing conspiracy theories; it’s “confirming” them.


In this way they’re doing what we all do – we’re all guilty of confirmation bias. Again, as Goldberg notes, the pandemic plays on the confirms-my-priors tendency in all of us. The difference is where most of us believe in bad actors and bad casts, conspiracy theorists believe in bad playwrights and bad directors (if I can bend the metaphor a little). It’s as though we live in alternate realities each with their own alternative facts.


One of the sad consequences of all this is our nation, indeed, our states, counties, cities, churches, and even some of our own families will lack a shared memory of the pandemic. We won’t be able to say, “Remember during the pandemic when we all [insert shared experience].” Instead, some of us will remember fighting the good fight of caring for the sick; while others recall fighting the good fight against the cadre of media, politicians, and billionaires who allegedly (and in some cases actually) sought to take our rights; and still others will hearken back to fighting the good fight against what we perceived to be the misinformation spread by the “those people” on the internet faster than COVID-19 spread through New York City. And if what I’ve been saying is true, then where the pandemic has united some, it has, for so many others, exposed the divisions we’ve for years been avoiding, glossing over, or hoping would “just disappear” (like a miracle, maybe).


All this suggests the most effective path forward is not likely to be point-counter point debate – I can assure you, you’ll accomplish little more than to convince yourself how wrong “these people” are. It may instead be to ask someone you know for their larger narrative, for their functional worldview. What do they think is going on beyond the pandemic itself that makes the pandemic response such obvious proof of what they’re saying? “Who do you see as the people moving this along, and what they are after? Why is this important to you, specifically, and why do you think it should be important to me?” You could probably think of better questions, but you see my point. 


This is a longer path. It’s harder and requires more patience. I haven’t started down this road, myself, because I quite honestly don’t want to extend myself that much (plus, you know, school, work, wife, baby). But I’m reconsidering not only my strategy, but my relationships with the folks I know who believe things I find so unbelievable. And I suspect this path forward isn’t merely the appropriate response to conspiracy theories regarding the pandemic, but to the generally – and, it seems, increasingly – divided nature of our nation. If we’re able to express love through patient, empathic, respectful listening, will we be able to lay the relational foundation for a more unified vision of the world and its future? Is there such a “backdoor,” so to speak, to building a shared worldview? I hope so, because the front door, it seems, is closed.

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Apply the Word: Jesus is God, God Gives Rest

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This past Sunday my pastor preached on John 5 when Jesus heals a lame man at the pool of Bethesda. Not surprisingly, Jesus, in doing good, stirs up trouble for himself. First, he heals on the Sabbath, which upsets the Pharisees, who see this as breaking the Sabbath. Second, he asserts that he is God (cf. v 17-18), which also upsets the Pharisees. I want to focus on the first issue, because it is in fulfilling the Sabbath that Jesus demonstrates that he truly is who he claims to be.

When Jesus says in v 17 that he is doing God’s work, he is telling us that doing good on the Sabbath is not breaking the Sabbath but is actually the truest expression of the Sabbath. Rest as relief from the effects of the fall (e.g., sin and sickness) is what the Sabbath is all about. Hence Jesus says, “my Father has been working until now.” Jesus says deliverance from affliction and sin is the work God is doing as an expression of the Sabbath, and, therefore, he is doing the same. Our hope is that Christ will complete this work of redemption, and we will enter into that full and final rest in glory.

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Apply the Word: Faith Is Desperate

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailI don’t like to feel needy. I don’t like it when life squeezes all the comfort and confidence out of me that I’ve come to rely on from day to day. I don’t like pain. My pastor recently preached on John 4, where we are introduced to a desperate man, in a lot of pain, who wasn’t afraid to confess his need.

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Apply the Word: The Shepherd Leads

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailI’ve been remiss in sharing the articles I’m posting on my church’s blog. Here is some application from a sermon on Psalm 23. It’s titled, The Shepherd Leads, and it addresses God’s commitment to lead us all the way down the path of righteousness into his presence, where there is fullness of joy.

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Weaned from False Hope

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailI’m posting again for my church’s Apply the Word series. Below is an excerpt from my post and a link to the full article.

One of the questions that comes up any time we address the need for change is that of “How? How do I get from where I am to where I should be?” This Sunday, Benny (my pastor) preached from Psalm 131 on moving from anxious, harried, and haughty to peaceful and content in Christ.

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Sermon: Psalm 63 – Expecting to Meet with God

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I recently had the opportunity to preach at my church, and this is the message God put on my hear to share. I show from Psalm 63 that we, the church, have every reason to expect God to show us his power and glory when we seek him both in our corporate gatherings and in private prayer. And I show that this expectation is not based on us, but is based on God’s grace in Jesus Christ. I pray this message blesses you.

Click here to access the sermon on my church’s website. The Psalm is below for reference.

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God Is in the Midst of Her: Thoughts on Psalm 46

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail“When we face pain and difficulties in life, it can be tempting to feel alone, abandoned to our trouble. Indeed, one of the key elements of fear and anxiety is the feeling that we are facing our threat alone.”

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