(I want to first express my sympathy to everyone affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary Shootings. I had planned to write this post before this horror happened, and I decided to still write it. I cannot imagine the depths of grief that the parents and friends are going through in Connecticut right now. I am so, so sorry for them, and am praying for God to fill them with comfort and hope as only He can.)
I don’t typically like to share my struggles with people I’m not close to, but at my last MOPS meeting, a girl spoke about her experience with cancer, using the points from John Piper’s book Don’t Waste Your Cancer. All of the points are pretty good, but these four most applied to me:
3. You waste your cancer if you put hope in your odds rather than in God.
4. You waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.
8. You waste your cancer if you grieve as those who have no hope.
The last point was the reason I decided to blog about this:
10. You waste your cancer if you fail to use it as a means to witness to the truth and glory of Christ.
I hope this post can do that and provide some resources and bring some comfort to others now and in the future.
On November 30th, the three of us went to the doctor’s office hoping to see a wiggly baby on the ultrasound screen. Instead, we found out our baby didn’t have a heartbeat, and had stopped growing a few weeks before. The verse on our whiteboard (see this post) was 2 Corinthians 9:8: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, we may abound in every good work.” It was a sweet reminder that God was with us, and working things out to good for them who love Him and a called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
This wasn’t the first time we’d dealt with this. My first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage a couple of years ago. That one was very difficult emotionally, and I spent several months reading about God’s character, and putting together lists of His promises about things. Here is the list I made of God’s promises to believers regarding comfort.
Something that was especially helpful to me was this sermon series (Part 1 and Part 2) by John MacArthur on the salvation of babies, which a friend had emailed to me on my birthday, two years ago. It is full of Scripture and hope, but what was most helpful to me was the comparison of King David’s reactions when his baby son and his son Absalom died. David, a man after God’s own heart, cried, prayed, and fasted for God to spare his baby son, but when his son died, he stopped crying and cleaned himself up. When Absalom, who was leading an army to kill his own father, died, he mourns a lot, saying, “I wish I had died instead of him” and weeps, until the captain of his army told him to get it together or he would lose the kingdom. These reactions are both the opposite of what those around him expected, and they are frequently the opposite of what we would do. David, who knew he would be with God after he died (Psalm 16, 23), knew that he wouldn’t see Absalom again, while he would see his baby son again.
I think seeing David’s reactions reminded me that this is not a tragedy when we look at the eternal picture. It is sad for a time, but our family will be restored one day. It is much more tragic when someone forsakes Christ. This quote from C. S. Lewis Screwtape Letters (which TSH and i got to see performed a year and a half ago) sums it up. One demon is talking to another about humans: “They, of course, do tend to regard death as the prime evil and survival as the greatest good. But that is because we have taught them to do so. Do not let us be infected by our own propaganda.”
This time around has not been as emotionally difficult. Some days I still cry, and every day I hope we never have to go through this again, but most days I feel really blessed to have a sweet little girl and a loving husband. I think of my two kids sitting on Jesus’ knees, and I look forward to the day when sin, death, sickness, and sorrow will be banished. This world is messed up from sin and it’s effects. Badly. But Christmas is when we remember that God had a plan to heal the world–and carried it out even though it brought Him a lot of pain. Just as He kept His promise about sending a rescuer, He’s going to keep His promise to come back and defeat evil. He’s waiting, so people can still come to Him (2 Peter 3:9). Jesus will return, and I hope soon! Then we can celebrate a seriously merry Christmas. Until then, we have hope!
Wishing you grace, peace, joy and hope for the new year!