This Father’s Day, we spoke to Pastor Garrick Li, senior pastor of Christ Harvest Church (Taiwan) whose desire to be a father led him and his wife, Anna into a season of waiting.
Abraham received a promise from God that he would become the father of many nations. Yet his wait for the promise to come to pass was notoriously long and agonising. God, however, never wastes a trial. The crisis that Abraham overcame ignited the faith in Garrick Li, senior pastor of Christ Harvest Church in Banqiao, Taiwan, to believe that he, too, would receive his child.
“I woke up to pray with City Harvest Church when you had your first morning prayer meeting in 2021.” Pastor Garrick recounts. “In the prayer meeting, Pastor Kong (Hee, CHC’s senior pastor) was talking about how Abraham received the promises of God, believed the promises and spoke the promises.”
At the end of the prayer meeting, Pastor Kong invited those who were praying for a baby to believe in their miracle. “That morning I was so pumped, and I prayed, declaring that the faith of Abraham was going to happen for me. That same day, when my wife, Anna came home from work, she showed me the pregnancy test kit result and told me she was pregnant!” the pastor recalled with a smile.
That day, Anna had felt in the spirit that she was pregnant and thus bought the pregnancy kit and did the test in faith.
Testing positive for a pregnancy test was a miracle for the Lis as they had been waiting seven long years for their child. The process was trying with many moments where the couple almost gave up, but God came and injected faith in their hearts at every turn.
IT ALL STARTED WITH A DESIRE
Pastor Garrick’s desire to be a father stemmed from a burden he had in his heart. “We run a youth church and around us are all young people. Over the years, as we were reaching out to the youth in Taiwan, I start to realise that the percentage of young people growing up without a father is very high,” he shares.
That gave the pastor a desire to be a role model for the young people and show them what it means to be a father and how to raise a child. “I want the young people to have the vision of becoming a good father one day, even though they grew up in a fatherless family.”
Unfortunately, after two years of trying for a baby, the couple found out that Anna had a lower egg count than most women and it was near impossible for her to conceive. The next five years saw them consulting many doctors, all of whom gave them negative reports.
“There were many ups and downs. At times we were hopeful, and we had the faith to believe, but other times we felt so hopeless, and we felt that God was silent” he recalls. “We had so many doubts and so many other voices in our head. The struggle was very real.”
There were even times when the couple doubted that they would ever become parents in this lifetime. “There was a season where we didn’t know if we should keep on believing, keep declaring and keep prophesying that we would become a dad and a mom,” he says.
THEY HAD FAITH BECAUSE GOD WALKED WITH THEM
But God was with the couple every step of the journey—each time their faith faltered, He picked them up. “There was once Anna was alone at the doctor’s and he was showing her a report, telling her, ‘See, I told you this is not going to happen.’”
At that moment, Anna felt a sense of spiritual dissatisfaction. “She felt that whatever black and white report the doctor was showing her could not overtake the black and white report that she read every day—that is the Word of God.”
That was the last doctor that the couple sought advice from. “After that, she said that she would not be going back to the doctor, and she would hold on to the Word of God instead,” Pastor Garrick says. “I think that one encounter really helped us to start believing again.”
One revelation the couple received in that season was that God is a God who never lies—it spoke so loudly that Pastor Garrick turned it into a sermon for his church in April 2020. “The title of my message was ‘Thank You For Being Late’. I spoke about all the Bible characters who felt that God was leaving them behind, but at the end of the day God showed up.”
One of the Bible characters was Joseph—he waited 13 years for his dream to become a reality. Another was David, who waited 10 years for his crown after being anointed king.
“That was a season when God started to deal with my faith. At that point I was really losing all my faith and was about to give up,” the pastor admitted. “As I preached to the church, I was really preaching to myself. And I was honest with my congregation; I told them that the message was for me. We thanked God that though we thought that He was late, He came through for us in the end.”
A few months later in September, Pastor Garrick received another assurance from God. Upon the recommendation from their friends, the couple was considering a treatment to stimulate ovulation. It was not an easy process and Anna did not feel comfortable doing it. Additionally, there was the cost to consider.
“We were really struggling with the decision. At that time, we were in our 21-day fast, so we sought the Lord,” the pastor shares. God spoke to him from Galatians 4:27 which reads, “Be glad, barren woman, you who never bore a child, shout for joy and cry aloud, you who were never in labour; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”
“I wrote in my journal: ‘I’m going to be a father. And I told Anna that we would not be going for the injection because God told me that she would give birth and I would be a father,” Pastor Garrick shares.
True enough, Anna was pregnant in April the next year and Baby Jedediah (affectionately known as JD) was born nine months later.
THE MIRACLE THAT CHANGED THEIR WORLD
“The baby changed my world, and I enjoy every moment,” Pastor Garrick says smiling. “Even though everything is new for me, I feel so much joy and satisfaction.”
To the pastor, the best part of being a father is his new understanding of Father God. “I received a whole new revelation of the fatherhood of God and who the Father really is. Just being a father to JD helped built my confidence before Father God,” he shares.
“When I’m taking care of my baby, I know ‘God is also taking care of me’. When I’m being patient and gracious to him, I think ‘Wow, this is how Father God is’.”
In those moments, Psalms 127 came alive for him. “Every day when I put the baby to bed, I realise the Psalm makes so much sense. No matter what season or struggles I’m going through, God is watching me sleep like how I watch my baby sleep. That really brought so much rest into my life.”
Another thing Pastor Garrick loves is to pray with Baby JD. “I find that it’s an intimate moment for me, my boy and Father God.”
One thing that he never expected though, was the amount of diaper-changing he had to do. “This is my first baby, so I don’t know what to expect; but one thing that is so unexpected is changing the diapers so often, especially in the first month,” he shares candidly. “It’s just never-ending.”
Pastor Garrick gushes about how easy Baby JD falls into his sleeping routine. “He started sleeping through the night after two and a half months. We really prayed for that because we are so busy with ministry, we need to sleep at night. God came through for us and I got my sleep back after two and a half months.”
ADVICE TO COUPLES WITH FERTILITY ISSUES: EMBRACE THE WAIT
Looking back on the years of waiting, Pastor Garrick is grateful to God for that season. To couples who are still waiting for their miracle, he advises them to enjoy the season they are in as a couple.
“There’ll be expectations, there’ll be heartbreaks, but learn to embrace the season as a couple. That is important because we often look forward to God answering our prayers that we miss what He’s trying to teach us. While you’re waiting, just enjoy,” he encouraged.
Another thing is to not lose faith while waiting. “God might be late in your timetable, but God is never too late. One day, you’ll thank Him for being late. As you wait, keep praying, keep worshipping and keep believing that God is in control.”
For many couples, the painful waiting period takes a toll on their marriage. Pastor Garrick encourages them to remember why they got married. “At that time, you were not thinking about a baby. You got married because you love each other and want to spend the rest of your lives together. Don’t forget that even if the baby doesn’t come, your world is complete. Your marriage is complete, and your family is beautiful. You have to keep the first love.”
The struggles of the husband and the wife would probably be different. At different points in time, one will feel more positive than the other. Pastor Garrick advises, “No matter what, try to be more accepting of each other and never judge each other’s faith. Even when you feel like you have more faith than your spouse, don’t judge. God works in different ways, so just encourage and love each other.”
The pastor believes that as the couple goes through the tough season together, God will strengthen their marriage. “Our marriage was strengthened in those years of waiting and struggling because we got to know each other more. In those dark and difficult days, we learn to embrace each other and to love and encourage each other. Looking back, we see how we have encouraged and become more considerate of each other. Those are the ingredients that bond a couple and it’s helping us now after the baby is born.”