What Hurting People Need and Don’t Need
What someone shouldn’t immediately offer to the couple struggling with infertility is a set of solutions to the problem. If you are a practiced medical doctor in the field, then there may be a place for offering very specific medical advice, but all in all, what most of us should do is simply be present to the couple, listen, and be slow to speak to their experience.
Give a listening ear. . . be present, and . . . persist in being present.
Just receive from them what they’re willing to give. This is a deeply vulnerable admission. I would encourage people in the church just to give a listening ear, to be present, and to persist in being present.
Don’t see the initial admission as That’s it. There’s nothing more to do for them, their worry, or their struggle. Instead, persist. Be with them continuously on their path. That’s what it means to be the church to one another. It can’t be this sort of occasional listening. It has to be persistent and loyal.
Sometimes people feel the need to overly reassure, feeling the need to give people a sense of a hope and a future that God may or may not have for them. It’s one thing to say that God is with them and that he cares for them, but it’s another thing to say that God will give them what they really want (a child) based on the examples in infertility and conception in Scripture.
That may or may not happen, so it’s not the responsible answer to the couple struggling with infertility to tell them that God will certainly deliver a child to them. You don’t know that, and that’s God’s prerogative. God is the giver of life, we are not. What we can do is lend ourselves in care, to accompany with them in their journey. Maybe that will mean rejoicing with them; maybe that will mean weeping with them.
- 34 Ethical Issues All Christians Should Know
- 10 Things You Should Know about Infertility (Matthew Arbo)