For Our Good

On our drive home from the emergency room that dreadful night, I was reminded of a quote that stuck with me from a sermon by Matt Chandler

Would it not be the kindness of God to allow you to endure some of your greatest fears and get to the other side so that those fears no longer control you?

You may be screaming, "No! That is not how God works!" And I can understand. It's a profoundly uncomfortable thought, especially for the theology we like to have in our modern world of everything going smoothly. 

We claim verses like, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) To that I shout "Amen!" but would challenge how we define "good" today.

Sufficient Grace + Our Good

I've come to see through my reading of God's word (and life experience), that "for good" does not often mean what we want it to mean. It doesn't guarantee physical healing, it doesn't mean material provision, it doesn't mean our plans go how we want them to go. "For good" doesn't mean we're shielded from pain, evil or suffering touching our lives, especially with Scripture that ensures the opposite (John 16:33, Philippians 1:29).

In II Corinthians 12, we read that Paul prayed repeatedly for the thorn in his flesh to be removed (what that thorn was exactly, we don't know). But God answered that his grace was sufficient for Paul.

Notice what God's grace didn't mean. It didn't mean relief of Paul's affliction. It didn't mean Paul's prayer was answered in the way he wanted it to be.

God's grace meant Paul had exactly what he needed to continue to walk faithfully with the Lord through this hardship. And that's exactly what we as followers of Christ have as well.

What is the best thing God can give me? Himself.
What is the best thing he can do for me, after salvation? Make me more like Jesus. 

In her book, "Inheritance of Tears" (a short book I highly recommend for those grieving a miscarriage), Jessalyn Hutto says "ultimate good is that we increasingly take on the perfect moral character of Christ." 

ENOUGH SKETCH

The Relevance of the Gospel in Our Sufferings

The gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, has taken on deeper intimacy for me as I've walked through the pain of miscarriage for many reasons. This may sound strange to those unfamiliar with these ideas. It may sound like wishful thinking or the hopeful delusions of a grieving mother. But my aim is to point to Jesus and prayerfully cause you to consider your life in light of eternity. 

What other explanation is there for how a parent mourning the loss of their unborn child isn't utterly falling apart and cursing God for this unexplainable tragedy?

Hope

Though I yearn to hold my sweet baby girl or boy in my arms come August 1, 2017 (my due date), I have great hope that I will one day. I have a peaceful confidence that my child is now in the arms of Jesus.

When I heard of people who had lost a baby, I'd often wonder if their child was truly in heaven or if that was simply something we said to comfort ourselves. The theology behind this is another post in itself, but I rest assured that my son or daughter is living a greater life than I ever could have given him or her–whole, healthy, without sin or suffering, complete and experiencing a joy and satisfaction that I can only imagine this side of heaven. 

Empathy

As humbly as I can say this, emapthy is an area I don't typically struggle with. I feel deeply with what others are experiencing, even those I don't know personally. But I now know how to better comfort people mourning a loss, grieving and in sorrow, especially someone walking through miscarriage and the loss of a child. 

Though I would honestly trade understanding someone else's situation for having my baby in my arms in an instant, I pray that the Lord would use our grief to help someone else who will walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And it's given me a new understanding of what God the Father really did when giving his Son to die for us. He willingly chose this far more horrific and sorrowful pain for his Son on our behalf.

Eternal Perspective

This is an area I've always struggled in–to fix my eyes upward and not on my current circumstances. Through the loss of my baby my heart longs for heaven in a way it never has before; so I can see and hold and play with my child, yes, but so that finally and eternally death is defeated and I am made whole in the presence of Jesus.

Believer, take heart that what you are walking through is not unknown by or out of control of your Savior. You have his grace, so you have all that you truly need.

Seeker, again, your life and ways are known by God and he desires a relationship with you. Seek him and you will find.