I know that many of the readers of this little blog have many heartaches and troubles, and what I write can only address a tiny bit of a tiny bit of the many disappointments and discouragements that Christian women can meet with in all stages of life.

But thankfully, God doesn’t rely on me or on my blog to satisfy the hearts of His people. If so, we would all be sunk! Nevertheless, I hope He can and will use me to encourage some of you who have heavy hearts about miscarriages, infertility, or the unmarried state. And how can I do that? By pointing you to the excellencies of Christ. You have a Savior and He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He, and only He, can enable the Christian to find hope and comfort, satisfaction and joy in Him and no where else. So I point you to Jesus. Look to Him for help and strength.

And as you do that, here is something to consider. I believe that if you can identify your trouble as what the Bible calls affliction, then you will have a handle with which to process your troubles. This is actually a very good place to start. This childlessness, this singleness or widowhood, this loss of a child or miscarriage is an affliction, and the Bible has much to say about affliction in this life. God always uses such things to sanctify us, to conform us to the image of His Son, to teach us to follow Christ. It is good to be needy because we have a Savior who loves to bestow comfort in affliction, joy in suffering, and help for the helpless. If we never had need, would we have an idea of His matchless grace?

Afflictions are good for us because they are God’s schoolroom in which He teaches His children many things. Learn to listen and learn to be a good student in affliction. He does all things well. This is not an accident, but part of His good (though hard) Providence in your life. This is an opportunity for faith, without which we will not see the Lord.

The rest of the saints need to also identify affliction. When we realize that to be childless is a hard affliction, we will deal differently with our sisters who long for children. This doesn’t mean we will pity them in an ungodly or unproductive way, but we will look to encourage them. If someone is in a wheel chair or using a walker, we know that is an affliction. But loneliness and heartache can be camouflaged. So be tender of those women and offer them a hand.

Turning a profit on your troubles means that your goal in them, as well as in all of life, is to bring glory and honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. So what opportunities has God given you in this affliction? How can you glorify Him in this trial? By trusting Him, believing Him, rejoicing in Him, showing gratitude to Him, and resting there in His grace for you. This is how we glorify Him, and this is what makes it possible for us to enjoy Him and our fellowship with Him forever.

I must close with a little from Samuel Rutherford who knew well what it was to suffer.

Dry wells send us to the fountain.

Christ chargeth me to believe His daylight at midnight.

Look for crosses, and while it is fair weather mend the sails of the ship.

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10 thoughts on “Dry Wells

  1. The simple acknowledgment that affliction is affliction is the foundation of any comfort one can offer to the afflicted. It’s also the foundation of any reasonable exhortation to contentment.

  2. It can be so freeing to acknowledge something as an affliction, rather than to beat yourself up over it as if it’s somehow ‘your fault’, or punishment for some sin!

  3. I nearly started crying when I read this, because it so exactly echoed exactly what I’ve been feeling.
    I don’t always think of singleness as an affliction, sometimes it is a huge blessing, especially at this stage of my life, but I’ve had some engaged friends visiting me for a few days, and I’ve really been feeling the weight on my heart of my loneliness.
    Thank you for allowing me to identify it as an affliction, and for giving me these words of encouragement.

  4. I had a period of about 4 years in which many, many sad things happened…lost 4 babies, one whom was a stillborn little boy…both my parents died suddenly…extended family strife…and we moved!

    There were days where I could barely put my feet on the floor, but I can solemnly affirm the truth of what you write here, Nancy. I have told others who wanted to talk to me about all that, that I think there was really *no other way* for me to learn the things I learned during that difficult time. The Lord taught me His own goodness and sufficiency, and just as important, my own lack thereof. I have always been a pretty efficient, capable person…get things done…organized. But all the organization in the world didn’t mean a thing in the face of affliction. Things became very clear to me.

    It hasn’t all been sad…the Lord has sent good times, too. We have 5 children living now. I think, often, of the poor women who have sorrows like mine *without* that comfort to breathe hope into their grief.

    I also decided somewhere in those years that from now on, when someone I knew was hurting, I was going to take the chance that I might get it wrong, but I would step up and try to express my sympathy. I would not let them suffer without knowing my love for them, even if I couldn’t do anything else to help.

    Sorry this comment is long, Nancy. I really appreciated this post.

  5. Thank you, Mrs. Wilson. This was a blessing, and I intend to share it with many friends.
    Coupling this with the comment you told me recently, “God is not doing this to you, He is doing this *for* you,” I am encouraged by His merciful sanctification and eager to grow in His Kingdom. Thank you for the reminders.
    One of the ways I already see God using my affliction for the good of His people is growing the concept of covenant children – identifying the image of God, even in small miscarried children who fit in the palm of my hand. And that is a beautiful ministry. I am thankful to be part of His school room, as people learn along with me. Some days I simply forget that. :)
    And, like Andrea said, another way God is using my affliction for His Kingdom is by teaching me to reach out to others in affliction – whether the same vein as mine, or different. Learning to “identify affliction,” as you said, takes wisdom and gentleness; I pray for God’s grace to open my eyes and enable my hands.
    Thank you again. May the Lord bless you abundantly.

  6. Thanks for the very timely words. In the past I’ve resented and resisted being hurt because I’ve felt like I should just be tough enough for this stuff to not bother me, and in consequence I’ve struggled with feeling pretty dead inside. I think you’re right though. Affliction is different.

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