This blog article was written by SCORE Missionary Craig McClure. We pray that it may bring peace and comfort to many.
In early 2020 when anxiety and uncertainty were penetrating the hearts of many my wife, and I were celebrating the pregnancy of our fourth child. Gratitude and joy permeated our prayers. Then, a couple months into the pregnancy we go for a consult and ultrasound. The doctor did not have to tell us the obvious: the image on the screen was lifeless. For the second time in our marriage we would mourn the loss of our unborn child instead of welcoming them into our family.
Few experiences in life solicit joy like pregnancy and childbirth. Few experiences in life solicit grief and heartache like the loss of a pregnancy or child. Nevertheless, God orchestrates both in the life of the believer to produce worship. The reason for worship in the former is evident. Worship in the later seems impossible.
Considering an estimated one out of four known pregnancies end in miscarriage it is imperative the church be prepared to minister to this hurting community. Miscarriage is an indiscriminate consequence of inhabiting a fallen world. A consequence many Christian couples will endure, but few will openly discuss. It is for that reason that I offer the following truths to help give hope in a situation that began as one of life’s greatest joys and ended in life altering heartache.
Grief demonstrates our love. The grief of miscarriage surprises because we do not anticipate such pain over the loss of a person we never met. But this grief emerges from our intrinsic parental love. Grief is a love reaction, not sin. It is ok to grieve! The unimaginable sorrow felt in the death of our babies, even in the death of those we never cuddle in our arms is a demonstration of our unconditional love. When there is loss of love there is mourning.
Love produced the grief of Jesus in the death of Lazarus. Love for his friend, love for the sisters of Lazarus, love for the mourners (John 11:5; 33). Even knowing that Bethany was on the brink of witnessing life-giving power over death, Jesus wept (John 11:35). Likewise, we will weep and grieve deeply because of the inherent love God gives us for our children. It is a reflection of the Imago Dei. As God’s image bearers we fiercely love our children as he fiercely loves us. Therefore, your grief is not demonstrative of an absence of faith; rather it is indicative of God’s indwelling and abiding love.
Jesus comforts and mends the grieving. Grief is subjective. It is relative to one’s personal experience. Numerous circumstances contribute to the level of grief experienced by each individual. Our spouse as well as other couples will grieve differently. We cannot compare our grief to the grief of others. Unfortunately, the incomparability of the grief can create loneliness, bitterness, and guilt.
Grieving mothers are particularly susceptible to feelings of loneliness and guilt. The maternal instinct is to protect her child. So when a baby dies within the safety of the womb a mother may wrongly hold herself responsible. Left unaddressed this guilt can dangerously escalate into depression.
The hope is that Jesus is near to the brokenhearted. Jesus is intimately acquainted with our sorrow and supremely able to minister comfort to our spirit (Matt 5:4). Take your grief and heartache to the Great High Priest who alone is fully able to empathize with your suffering (1 Pet 5:7; Heb 4:15). Remember, Jesus has bore our grief and carried away our sorrow (Isa 53:4).
God is sovereign over every life and he is good. “Why did God allow the pregnancy if he was only going to take it away a few weeks later?” That is a common question asked by couples following a miscarriage. In truth there is no complete answer this side of eternity. However, there are eternal biblical principles that minister peace when specific answers are unavailable.
First, God sovereignly allowed conception, gave life in the womb, and has purpose for every life created regardless of how brief (Jer 1:4-5). The decision to give life and take life is solely the prerogative of the Creator (1 Sam 2:6; Jam 4:15; Eph 1:11). God is fully in control and no death occurs without his authorization. And the Lord is good (Ps 25:8). He had a purpose for your child and it was perfectly fulfilled. Have confidence that while we may not fully understand his purposes there is no divine cruelty in the death of your child (Deut 29:29; Isa 55:8-9).
Second, God is working his good purposes in us through the death of our child (Rom 8:28). The trial of miscarriage is intended by God to increase his faithfulness towards us and make us perfect and complete in Christ (Jam 1:2-4). In our loss Christ Jesus satisfies the affections we anticipated being satisfied in our child and increases our heavenly hope (Rom 8:18-25).
Third, our babies are with Jesus! These are not sentimental words of consolation, but biblical fact. Scripture provides assurance that babies, while not sinless, are innocent and have no moral culpability (Jer 2:34; 19:4-7). They have yet reached a maturity that allows for willful, premeditated disbelief and disobedience. They have no ability to distinguish between good and evil (Deut 1:39). Therefore, they are not guilty of suppressing the truth and saved by God’s infinite grace (Rom 1:18).
There is comfort in this truth: the first face ever seen by miscarried babies is the face of their Creator and Savior Jesus. Imagine this moment! Instantaneous eternal glory! Our babies are whole, holy, and mature in the Lord. Their first conscious experience is to know the beauty and majesty of Christ in his fullness! We should worship in response to this reality and glorify God for the immeasurable riches of his grace towards our miscarried babies! Death in the womb meant our child would never experience the corruption of sin in this world. Although we rightly mourn over not meeting our child we can worship in our mourning knowing Jesus holds them in his presence. Yes we grieve, but it is temporary and not without hope (1 Thess 4:13). One day we will worship with our departed children the Lamb who ransomed us as his possession (1 Cor 3:23; Rev 5:9-12). They will not return to us, but by God’s grace we shall go to them (2 Sam 12:23).
Your joy will return. To my fellow grieving parents I offer this final word of exhortation. At present joy-filled hope and worship feel distant. But Jesus sees your heartache (Ps 34:18). He is ever-present ministering supernatural peace in your suffering (John 14:27). Draw near to him and he will draw near to you (Jam 4:8). Allow the Word of God to be soothing balm to your wounded heart. “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning”(Ps 30:5). Be encouraged because the New Creation is coming when “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev 21:4). Amen!
A version of this article was originally published in Spanish at: https://www.coalicionporelevangelio.org/articulo/el-consuelo-de-dios-en-la-perdida-de-un-embarazo/