My wife had a miscarriage Sunday, July 1.
The days leading up to the miscarriage were terrifying. The days following the loss were devastating.
My wife and I prayed fervently when she started spotting. We wept together when it was clear that the child was lost. I experienced anger, resentment, terror, confusion, grief, and a whirlwind of other terrible emotions.
I do not understand why this horrible tragedy took place. I can not make sense of it, no matter how hard I try. I have a strong tendency to attempt to conjure satisfactory explanations for the trials and tribulations of my life, but I could find no reason sufficient to justify the loss of an unborn human life. I could find reason in mature Christians, strong in the faith, suffering cancer and dying young, all the while glorifying God, but I could not and can not find reason in this.
Nevertheless, I privately pledged when I first learned my wife was pregnant that I would not turn away from my faith should the worst come to pass. The pledge would be impossible to keep in my own strength. Left to my own self apart from the strength of God, I would likely throw myself wholly into any available distraction to drown out the pain; I would look away from the excruciating question of God's sovereignty in the suffering of believers. I confess I did all those things and fear I will do them again.
If there was no God, if I were simply an assembly of random particles, if there was no design and no Designer, then what would be left after such an earth-shattering loss than despair, distraction, or madness?
I know that I will continue to wonder if some sin of mine cost my unborn child his or her life. There are days since the miscarriage when I suspect and fear and almost certainly know that if I would have not done something I should not have or done something that I should have that the child would have been born safely. In my more lucid moments, I dismiss the theory, but, unless God should intervene, I will suffer the doubts for years to come. It may be that Prosperity Gospel and triumphalism dug its roots into me deeper than I once suspected. It may be that Satan or demons are hard at work to drive me to a crippling guilt. It may be that there is merit to this admittedly terrifying suspicion. I can not yet say anything with certainty and I suspect it may be years or even a lifetime before these tormenting questions are answered with finality and authority.
Despite my doubts, I have chosen to hold firm to my faith in the sovereignty of God. I still believe He is omnipotent; He could have saved my child's life if He chose to. I still believe He is still a just God, as Scripture says. And I still believe He loves me.
Certainly, to one who has not recognized one's own sinful nature, repented, and accepted God's gift of salvation, such talk must sound like madness or wishful thinking. Those who share my faith in a great God will understand such belief is anything but foolishness.
What hope can we, as Christians, offer a suffering world if we ourselves do not suffer? How can we expect to point people to Christ through what we do and who we are if we only follow Christ in times of prosperity and joy? What value is a belief that crumbles at the first hint of opposition?
I grieve for the loss of my unborn child. A precious human life was lost and nothing I do can rewind time or save that life. Nothing I did and nothing I said was powerful enough to prevent my wife's miscarriage. I have often said that "control is an illusion," though I never wanted to be so wrong as the Saturday before my wife miscarried. I stubbornly hoped there was something I could do or say to ensure my wife carried the child to term.
I do not expect to wake up one day and be "over it." There are days where I can carry on, business more or less as usual, my co-workers and others oblivious to the tragedy my wife and I endured and are enduring, and put it out of my mind for a while. Yet there are moments when I feel I can hardly breathe and I can only choke back tears by fear of the embarrassment of crying publicly. More than once I have remembered C.S. Lewis writing, "I never knew grief felt so much like fear."
In the days following my wife's miscarriage, it was sometimes difficult to hold my daughter without crying because she has been and continues to be such a precious gift. I often told my wife, "This child's awesome. I want another." And I still do. I have not given up on giving my daughter a little brother or sister and ask for your prayers that, if it is the Lord's will, that my wife's next pregnancy would go smoothly and lead to a healthy full-term baby.
Following the miscarriage, in my selfishness, I desired to remain silent. I did not want to hear words of comfort when I knew no human could provide lasting comfort. I did not want to share a matter so deeply personal, especially since I tend to be a very private person.
Yet more than that, I desired to honor the life that was lost and, even more importantly, glorify the God that has saved me from the penalty of sin, is saving me from the power of sin, and will one day save me from the presence of sin.
I pray I will never have to experience such loss again, but I also seek to submit to God's will for my life. I also pray for others who have experienced the same loss and offer what must seem like such a paltry consolation: To pray with you when I myself still struggle daily to work through my grief. Know that you are not alone and do not turn away from a God who still loves you in the face of suffering. I speak to myself as much as, if not more than, I speak to any other.
In closing, I would like to point anyone else experiencing suffering or loss to the message Suffering in the Believer's Life by Alistair Begg. The message has helped me in my attempt to keep my focus on Scripture and the Author of the Word through this terrible time. I have never known Begg to "tickle the ears" of his listeners, instead preaching the Word of God with authority and clarity, and this message is no exception.