“May pangako ang Lord.” (“The Lord made a promise.”)
The First Years
After four years of being boyfriend and girlfriend, Pastor Tim and Noemi decided to get married on April 29, 1989. He was 23 years old and she was 25. Both of them were in ministry; Pastor Tim just became the senior pastor in UCCC (United Church of Christ of Cavite) in Pulo, while Noemi spearheaded a pre-school in church with $10 worth of seed money. To allow themselves a period of adjustment, Tim and Noemi decided not to have a child in their first two years of marriage.
Pastor Tim and Noemi had supportive immediate families that didn’t put pressure on them to have children right away. But soon enough, as it is in the Filipino culture, some of the people at church and in ministry started asking them, “Kailan kayo mag-aanak?” (“When are you going to have kids?”) To this, Tim and Noemi shared their two-year agreement. As the people around them kept asking about their child-bearing plans, Noemi’s desire to give Tim a child increased, and so did the pressure to have one.
Two Years In
In 1991, Tim and Noemi opened their home to a cousin who got pregnant out of wedlock. She had a son who lived with them for some time. Because Tim and Noemi had no child yet, some well-meaning family members and relatives suggested that they simply adopt the little boy.
Firmly, Tim and Noemi knew in their hearts that the Lord would bless them with a son. They held fast to this promise because it was a promise from Him. “Hindi, meron pangako ang Lord.” (No, the Lord made a promise.”
God had given them a promise, and He had confirmed it through the people who prayed for them. Many times, prophetic words and declarations about them having a child were released and declared over them.
Third Year to Fifth Year
In the third year of their marriage, the pressure to have a child started to build up. The longing in Noemi’s heart to give Tim a son grew, and it was in these moments of loneliness that she knelt by the window of their house and prayed to the Lord.
Meanwhile, because of the nature of his ministry involvement, Tim was mostly out and away from home. In one such trip, while riding a bus in South Korea, Tim prayed. He thanked God for the fulfillment of His promise for the son he would have. Tim asked God to be the provider of everything that their son would need in the future.
Five years went by. Life carried on as usual for Tim and Noemi. They were serving the Lord faithfully. At this point, Noemi was drinking fertility pills to aid in pregnancy. The couple eventually decided to have themselves checked. Their test results came out normal, and in that moment, they just surrendered their dream of a child to the Lord. Noemi said, “Bahala ka na, Lord,” (“It is up to You now, Lord”) not in a begrudging way, for she knew in her heart that God would give them a son. She just did not know when. Her surrender to the Lord was a recognition that indeed, children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127: 3 NLT) and that He gives His gifts at His perfect time.
One summer day, in the 6th year of their marriage, Noemi’s period was delayed, and she suspected she could be pregnant. She was still teaching at the pre-school, constantly finding herself sleepy. The pregnancy test came out positive, confirming her suspicion. They were finally pregnant!
However, on the 3rd month of pregnancy, Noemi got infected with chicken pox. By the time she was cured, the baby in her womb didn’t have life anymore. She was brought to the hospital where she labored to bring the lifeless baby out.
To be given the glimpse of a dream and the fulfillment of a promise, only to have it taken away is painful. Has that happened to you? And what happens next to Pastor Tim and Noemi? Does God still fulfill His promise to them? Find out in Part 2 of “Waiting for Seven.”