According to the Oxford dictionary an addict is “a person who is addicted to a particular substance, typically an illegal drug.”
Help guide.org states “Addiction involves craving for something intensely, loss of control over its use, and continuing involvement with it despite adverse consequences. Addiction changes the brain, first by subverting the way it registers pleasure and then by corrupting other normal drives such as learning and motivation.”
But what if someone is addicted to something that they cannot see? Something that knows no bounds and cannot be easily obtained? What if someone is addicted to HOPE?
Hope; that feeling of expectation and a desire for a certain thing to happen. That feeling of trust.
I am an addict, I am addicted to Hope.
The word “hope” is mentioned in the Bible over 130 times. One simple word, a word that can bring life to the weary and heal the broken. A four letter word…. A four letter word that I myself have clung to in times of darkness.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD.” — Jeremiah 17:7
“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise You more and more.” — Psalm 71:14
“For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” — Romans 15:4
The Bible is filled with stories about Hope. My favorite of all these stories is about my girl Sarah. Sarah and I have a lot in common. We have both prayed on our knees until they were bloody. We’ve sat back and watched other women get the very miracle we prayed for. Her prayer, the prayer she prayed thousands of years before I was even thought of is now my prayer. A prayer for motherhood.
“And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered Him faithful who had made the promise.” — Hebrews 11:11
You see our girl Sarah was childless until she was 90 years old. Like so many of us who have faced infertility Sarah did not believe in the promise that she to was going to be a mother. Can you blame the girl? Year after year passed with no pregnancy. Yet her husband Abraham believed in God’s promise that Sarah would be “a mother of nations” (Genesis 17:16) and that she would conceive and bear a son. At 90 Sarah gave birth to a son, a son named Isaac, God fulfilled his promise to them.
With respect to the fulfillment of the promise, Sarah embodies the themes of fear and doubt, Abraham those of faith and hope. Her doubt drives Sarah to devise her own way of realizing the promise—she gives Abraham her maidservant, Hagar, so that Hagar might bear a child for them. When the promise is repeated, Sarah expresses her doubt in sarcastic laughter (Genesis 18:12). And when the promise is kept, Sarah, overcome by joy, still implies her doubt had been reasonable (Genesis 21:6–7).
I feel Sarah on so many levels. The journey of infertility isn’t an easy one. There are times where my heart is filled with doubt. There are moments where I let the fear creep in and it’s words chase away the hope. When you are waiting on a promise it’s hard to stay the course. It’s hard to believe that your turn is coming. Four fertility clinics and multiple failed cycles later, I am still waiting on God’s promise. Just like Sarah did thousands of years ago.
In an attempt to fulfill the promise herself Sarah gave Hagar her maidservant to her husband so that she may bear a child for them. Modern day Hagars exist, somewhere right now in this country there are women going through retrieval cycles to give their eggs to a barren woman like myself.
I am barren, life and time have done me no favors. The cards they are stacked against me. The Endometriosis was diagnosed to late and the diminished ovarian reserve make for unfavorable odds. Add in the fact that I am 39 and that age puts me at the top of the geriatric maternal age. Yet despite the odds, I cling on to hope. I cling to the promise that my turn is coming. I have fears and doubts just as Sarah did and there are times where I to have laughed sarcastically at the possibilities of “what if.”