Dear Katie and Luke,
A little over a week ago, your mother started experiencing complications with her pregnancy. We went to the doctor, she had an ultra-sound, and we were so relieved to see the baby's heart beating away (and we could even hear it!). Praising God was easy that day...
But physiological problems persisted, yet not enough to make us concerned. Nonetheless, Mom went into the doctor again "just to be sure." I didn't even go with her this time, thinking all was okay. Then the phone rang in my study, and at that point, I was almost certain about what had happened. Upon arriving to see your mother, my assumption proved true: Mommy had a miscarriage. Praising God was not so easy that day...
Nobody has all of the answers concerning suffering, so I would be foolish to try to offer you a definitive treatment on that subject. I would like to point you, though, to a booklet and a book that have been extremely helpful to me over the years as I have contemplated the Bible's teaching on the subject of God's character in connection with suffering and evil.
- The booklet is written by John Murray, titled Behind a Frowning Providence. This is a very warm-hearted treatment of the subject and a must read, in my opinion.
- The book that I would recommend, How Long, O Lord? by Don Carson, is a bit more technical, but well worth the effort (by the way, read almost anything you can get your hands on by Carson!).
Could I offer two lessons that we all can learn from this miscarriage?
- In the midst of suffering, we should seek to trust God's promises about His gracious purposes in "all things" (Eph. 1:11), not our feelings. As John Murray writes, "When providences are dark it is difficult to read them. It is the Word that tells us how to view them" (Behind a Frowing Providence, 22). On the day of the miscarriage, I wept harder than I have in a long, long time, which is really the only appropriate response initially (like Jesus weeping at Lazarus' tomb in John 11). But through and beyond the grief are the promises of God that must be trusted, like First Thessalonians 4:13-14, "But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep." It's not that we don't grieve in the midst of adversity, but if we truly know Christ, we should not grieve "as others do who have no hope." Why? Because Jesus is coming again for His followers, and from His people alone "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). I think William Cowper said it well:
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, But trust him for his grace;
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.
- In the midst of suffering, God is gracious to His people through people. Your mother and I have been overwhelmed by the love so many people have shown in so many ways. E-mails, phone calls, cards, food, listening ears, hugs, second and third phone calls, wow! In the moment of our deepest despair, the Lord provides the grace to endure, and often He does this through people. We thank God for such a loving biological family whose care for us through the recent trial was immensely helpful. Kids, stay close to one another and to your family, if at all possible. Also, we are so grateful to our church family, whose kindness toward us has been so warm, and so sincere-What a delight to serve a church where all of the "love one another's" of the New Testament are taken seriously!
Finally, I want to remind you of what an amazing and Godly mother you have. She has wept and grieved, but not "as others do who have no hope." On the night the baby passed out of her body, she could actually see the baby clearly (at only 7 weeks)! Later that night in bed, she said to me something like this, "I'm actually thankful that God allowed me to see our baby." I am truly not worthy of this woman!
Grateful to God for the Three of You,