Two people die every second of every day. How do we deal with suffering when it strikes our home?
We had just finished watching a children’s play at a local community arts center. Part of the show included a banjo player. My 4-year-old daughter, who loves music went up to the man after the show and said, “I liked your banjo playing.” He thanked her and promptly replied, “do you play any instruments?” She looked at him rather seriously and replied, “Why yes I do. I play the ukulele.”
Children are always saying funny things – true, honest, and funny things. They bring so much joy to our lives. Psalm 127 says, “Children are a gift from the Lord.” My husband and I were joking the other night how Mary, the Mother of Jesus, must have had a rude awakening after she had her second baby. Her first, Jesus, was this perfect boy who always came to the call of his name, never threw a tantrum, obeyed what he was told. How different that second baby must have been! Who knows, maybe God showed her extra grace and they weren’t that bad.
The joy that children bring is in turn why it is so devastating when one loses a child. I have never personally lost a child, but I have wept & mourned with those close to me who have. Recently a friend of the ministry suffered a miscarriage. Here are her words as she struggles through the loss, questions, and yet hopes of things to come:
As I woke early this morning having a sense that all wasn’t well, I couldn’t help my mind from racing with all these different thoughts: God, what is going on? What did I do? Did I push myself too hard? Did I not get enough rest? Did I eat something bad? Did I not eat enough of something? Did I stress too much? Did I not pray enough? Did my sin cause this? Was it because we announced it too soon? Am I not believing or thinking positively enough? So many questions, so many thoughts filled my brain with, “What could I have done to prevent this?” A battle raged on in my mind in the wee hours of the morning: One side praying, meditating on God’s Word, telling God that I trust Him. The other side filling my head with doubt, shame and guilt that I am to blame.
It was around 9 am this morning when God, in His faithfulness, gave me the blessed assurance that my mind so desperately needed. God spoke through our doctor, (one who was new for us since the doctor we had for our past 7 children retired.) After asking him what causes these things he said, “In all my years of practice, I can’t tell you what causes things like this to happen, but can I tell you what DID NOT cause it.” He went on to adamantly explain to me that it was NOTHING I did, nothing I ate or didn’t eat, nothing I did to cause this to happen. All those questions that ran through my head this morning were answered by this man who I hardly even knew. (God, you truly amaze me!)
So in the midst of my grief, I am comforted – comforted by God’s love, faithfulness, and intimacy through His Holy Spirit speaking through others and through His precious Word. Our doctor even reminded us of a scripture verse in the book of Isaiah, which says “before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” God knew this little one before he/she was even in my belly, and for reasons that we don’t know yet, He is the one who is holding our little one now.
In the midst of my grief, I am at peace; the peace of God that surpasses all understanding.
So what does God’s word say about trials, suffering, what our response should be? In James chapter 2:1, is says,
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”
Ok, that’s nice, easier said than done. But that’s what God tells us to do. And he tells us WHY in the following verses.
“Knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
It says God wants us to be perfect & complete, and it might take a trial in our life to get us there. As God’s children, He lovingly brings us through the storms of this life, to make us more complete, more like Him. And knowing that, we can have the “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
I recently read a quote by John Piper that said,
“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.”
We aren’t always sure why God does what He does, but we can trust that it fits into His plan for His glory. Job after all of his suffering an anguish (losing his family, his home, his way of life) comes to this realization,
“Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know (Job 42:3).”
God went on to bless Job even more so than the first part of his life. Job only saw a small picture of what God was doing.
If you are suffering, have a lost a loved one, perhaps a child. Know that it will be hard, know that you may be deeply discourage, but also hold on to the HOPE that God is working in your life!
I want to leave this with you and how our friend finished her story to us:
So often God has used this Scripture to remind me to keep my eyes on Him: Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Everyday I have a choice to do this.
Please pray for this family as they wrestle through the heart ache of losing their precious baby, yet CHOOSE to trust in the promises of God & the purposes of his heart.
May God richly bless you!