I was saved on a back porch 5 years ago, while praying on the phone with my older brother. God wrapped his arms around me, whispered his forgiveness into my heart, and filled me with a peace I had never known before.
Since that moment, my life has been mostly great. I say mostly because in comparison to the hell I had walked away from after graduating high school, my life now seems like a cakewalk. But its really not, it still presents its own challenges and setbacks, just in different forms. Possibly one of the hardest of these setbacks being the loss of our baby due to an early term miscarriage.
Before I was saved by the love of God, before Jesus wrapped me in His arms and became a shield from the world and my sole source of strength, my miscarriage would have ruined me. The pain, the agony, the blinding anger all would have been my undoing. Before, I would have sunk so deep into a depressive state that not even my best friends or closest family could have pulled me out of it.
But that was before. I am now in the after. Everything changes after you let God pull you into His embrace. Your outlook, your attitude, your values. They all get molded and shaped by a new force, the Holy Spirit. Your life becomes something you never dreamed, or imagined it would be. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get easier, you don’t magically become immune to the things that plague the world, like sickness, death, stress, and depression. God just gives you a way to handle those things.
For me, God gave me what I had been searching for what seemed like my entire life, comfort. Comfort from people and events in my past that had caused me so much pain that at one time, taking my own life seemed like an option. Comfort from feeling isolated in a new state. Comfort from feeling like a failure. And most recently, comfort from loss.
The minute we realized we were expecting, images of a beautiful baby filled my mind. I started making plans, I started dreaming. But somewhere, deep in the far corners of my mind, there was doubt. I didn’t feel pregnant, there was no morning sickness. No backache. No tenderness or aching in my breasts. There was just a dull, consistent cramping. And an empty feeling.
I felt as if I were forcing my anticipation, even my body didn’t seem to believe this new life was coming. But I put it out of my mind. Until the phone call came, and all my doubts were realized, all my fears came true. Our baby, our hope, our dreams, our plans, gone before they were even really there. Then there was only pain.
God doesn’t take our pain away from us. He makes us many promises, but that simply isn’t one of them. We feel loss sharply, suddenly, irreversibly. We feel the full magnitude of it. Our hearts break. We aren’t immune.
Despite what some people will tell you, Christians don’t get a free pass from the pain of life. In fact, we feel it all the more powerfully because we realize exactly why there has to be loss and death, and we are forever waiting for the moment when our Savior will return and free us forever from this world.When we will be reunited with our loved ones in Heaven, joined hand in hand, forever singing praises to the God Most High.
But what do we do until then? Yes, God is my strength, my refuge, my comfort. That is undeniable. But what about the times when I don’t want to pray? When I am angry at Him? When I feel like He let me down? Like I did when we were told our precious baby was gone. I cried for two days straight. My brain just kept repeating, “it’s not fair, it’s not fair. Babies aren’t supposed to die before they’re born…”
I didn’t want to pray, to praise, to talk to anyone. I wanted to sink into my sadness and let it cover me with its inky blackness, its suffocating thickness. But God wouldn’t let me. He kept reminding me, I was not alone. There was hope.
Thankfully a friend of mine came alongside me to remind me of what God was trying to tell me. Sometimes, in our deepest pain, in our weakest moments, it takes someone else speaking for God to make us hear Him. Thankfully He knows that. Thankfully He send us those people when we need them.
So we sat, we cried, I yelled, we talked, eventually we prayed, and then something awesome happened. We pulled out our Bibles, we turned pages and found comfort, peace, healing, and rest. We encountered God.
You see, God is not absent from our loss. He does not stand on the outskirts and look in on us as if through a window. He is not some passerby who happens to see us in our moments of weakness and fragility and thinks to himself, “how sad” “how terribly sad.” God does not give us meaningless phrases ripe with cliche, to help those who utter them in moments of uncomfortable realization that no words will do. No earthly words that is.
God’s words are different. They are eternal. They are always fresh. Always comforting. Never stale. Never overused. Never cliche.
So while we sat on my couch crying and reading, I came across passages from Psalms, 2 Corinthians, and 1 Peter, and even though I had read them before, they filled my heart with peace the same way they did when I read them for the first time. Every word, chosen for me in that exact moment, laid out on the page as if there just for me to find.
That’s how God works in loss. He loves us through it. Our lives are never charmed, not magically free of the pain felt by everyone else in the world. Our bodies betray us. Our babies die. Our hearts break. But God loves us through it. And when we can’t yet see Him, when we don’t yet have the strength to fall to our knees before Him, he sends people to love us in our loss, and lead us back into His arms. If you don’t believe me, read it for yourself.
Psalm 5: 11&12
2 Corinthians 4:16&17
1 Peter 2:15