Dale and Laura Skoog | The Voice of Zion October 2018 --
Pray. Wait. Trust.
As parents of three young children we are sometimes asked if we remember what is was like when we didn’t have children. It seems that the answer, “Yes, of course,” surprises them. We do remember. After all, we have been married more years without children than with children. We remember the joys and we remember the sorrows.
God Hears Our Prayers
“Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings” (Ps. 61:1–4).
In the first years of our marriage we prayed that God would bless our life with children if it was His will. We were not given children, and gradually our prayer to God changed. We prayed that we could see and find contentment with the blessings in our life.
“Wait on the Lord”
“Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord” (Ps. 27:14).
We waited. Our wait lasted 20 years. God blessed our years of waiting. We were husband and wife who became best friends. We had fulfilling careers and were able to travel often. We found that the void of no children could be partially filled by giving our time to others. We fondly remember time spent with nieces and nephews. Volunteering within God’s kingdom has blessings. We feel fortunate that we had time available for this as well.
“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:3,4). Waiting can also be trying. There were hopes and dreams that didn’t materialize. There were doubts. There were tears and there were prayers. Through it all God granted us contentment and strengthened our weak faith. Our life was not miserable; we had much to be thankful for!
We pondered whether adoption was an option for us. With prayer, we completed the necessary paperwork and the wait began. We waited four years before acknowledging that once again God had shown us that this was not His plan. With mixed feelings of sadness and some relief we closed our file for adoption. Three months later we discovered that we were expecting our first child! With unspeakable joy we marveled at God’s guiding hand.
Trust in God’s Plan
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Prov. 3:5,6). To trust means “to believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of. To have faith in.”
We make plans for our lives, but when the path takes a different turn than we anticipated we can wonder why and even struggle against it. How comforting it is to put our trust in God, knowing that He has the perfect plan for us.
“Blessed be the Lord, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song I will praise him” (Ps. 28:6,7).
We are parents now. We have three beautiful children, ages 7, 5 and 3. Our life has drastically changed in many ways but there are things that remain. Amidst the many joys there are sorrows still. There are doubts and struggles. Our prayer for contentment has not diminished. We need the care of our Heavenly Father in every stage of life. How good it is to trust in the will of God!
In addition, there are two supporting articles on this topic in the printed or digital Voice of Zion.
In what ways has your life gone differently than you planned?
What kind of process has it been to accept that God’s plans have been different than your plans? What obstacles do you have to overcome to gain acceptance and contentment?
Have you felt alone in your trials? Where have you found help in times of struggle and trial?
In what unexpected ways has God blessed you?
Some deal with a busy household filled with little ones, others deal with an empty, quiet house. How can we support one another in life situations that are not the same as ours?