By: Stacy Potter
One in five pregnancies ends in miscarriage. My own ended only ten days after we learned of it. It is a terrible and deeply personal tragedy experienced by many women and their families. In the days following it, I found myself pondering questions of God and salvation that I had never faced before. Not all my questions were answered, but I have gained a deeper understanding of my Lord through this loss.
It's not a "beat the clock" situation
Sometimes, I have a sense that we have to hurry up and get people saved before they die. The Bible says that God chose us, predestined us, for salvation, before He even made the earth (Eph. 1:4-5), before he made us. It says that even the faith that we have is a grace and gift to us (Eph. 2:8). He does absolutely all of the salvation work. I am not aware of a verse explicitly saying that babies who die go to heaven, but remembering that He chose us refocuses me on trusting God with my baby. I'm not saved by anything I've done, and neither are the unborn. I can follow the examples of Abraham and Hannah, who completely trusted God with their children. Alive or dead, no one will love my kids better than God.
It is right to grieve the loss
I am frustrated with current cultural views of miscarriage. Doctors use terms like "spontaneous abortion" which sounds horrific, and "miscarriage" which implies that I somehow mishandled my baby. Referring to an embryo or fetus as "tissue" or "the products of conception" fails to recognize the personhood of that baby. All humans are made in God's image, made to reflect Him and His character and glory. That four week old embryo has dignity, value, and worth because it reflects God (Gen. 2:26-27). Our grandmothers held fast to a twelve-week rule, waiting until three months into the pregnancy to announce it. If a miscarriage happened before that, they would keep it to themselves and cope in silence and isolation. That isn't how God created us, to grieve alone, and frankly, our culture needs to see that we love and value our children, and that they are more than tissue (Ps. 139:13-16). Mourners can discern how many people they tell and how much, because unlike other deaths, it happens in such a personal and private way. But it's my hope that women not suffer silently. Job, a wealthy, dignified, widely respected man, was not silent when his children died, rather, he made a very public show of genuine grief, and that was not sin (Job 1:20-21).
He's not the bad guy
I felt angry with God afterward, for a while. I knew that God brings glory out of the most tragic situations, but I got to thinking that I should know how He would bring about that glory (Rom. 8:28). I wanted to know specifically what kind of glory would warrant all my suffering. But trusting God isn't about the how. It's about the Who. Who is the object of your faith? When Jesus talks to Mary and Martha about the death of their brother Lazarus, they both had the same objection, the same accusation. "You could have stopped this. Where were you?" Jesus doesn't ask a lot of the questions that I would expect Him to ask as he comes to comfort and mourn with them. He doesn't promise to raise their brother, or apologize for letting him die, or promise to replace him by giving them husbands. He asks, "Who am I? Am I the Lord, the life, the resurrection? Did I not tell you that I would bring glory from this death?" He doesn't offer to bring casseroles, He challenges the very core of their faith: "Who am I to you?" We die because of our sin nature. Jesus is the life, not the death.
A perfect Father understands imperfect mothers
Lots of women feel guilty. They wonder if they are responsible, because they ate sushi, or drank wine and coffee, worked out to hard, stressed out too much, or resented being pregnant. Most of the time, miscarriages happen because of a genetic problem. But if the mother did endanger her unborn baby, there is love, grace, and forgiveness. We wouldn't be perfect mothers whether or not our children lived. It is good to make every effort not to endanger the lives of others (Deut. 22:8), and there is a loving Father who perfectly loves us even when we are imperfect mothers, so we don't have to worry or wonder (1 Jn. 4:18).
He has been there, too
Lastly, we know that our grief is perfectly understood by our Father. He too watched as His child suffered, bled and died and was hidden away in a dark tomb. Jesus suffered so that our feeble, broken bodies might one day be glorified and able to live and enjoy Him forever. Let us not point our finger at God and accuse, "Why me?" but look to Jesus on the cross, point and ask, "Why Him?"
Because you are greatly loved by a greatly glorious God, child. You are greatly loved. (Eph. 3:14-19)