One of the worst things for a parent to go through has to be the death of a child. I can think of few things more tragic than this. While I have never experienced the death of a child after they have been born, I have felt the pains of death in miscarriage. Statistics say that somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. If you have ever been a part of that 10-20 percent, you know the pain it can cause. You know all the questions that you have asked. Often you are left with more question than answers. Often, there are just no good answers to give for why your little child died in the womb. For many, there seems to be no hope in the case of a miscarriage. It felt this way for my wife and me for a while. It seemed that few people had answers . . . and even fewer cared to talk about it. But what we found out is that you can actually find hope in the midst of it. I read several articles on the subject when we went though it a few years ago. They were helpful, but I would like to offer the perspective as a husband and father who has witnessed it firsthand.
Hope in the Right Questions:
First, it is important to note that God is big enough for your questions. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” He desires for us to come to Him with our burdens. He even asked His father if He could “take this cup” from Him before He went to the cross. When a miscarriage happens, a part of the grieving process may be to ask God why. That is okay; He is big enough to field that question. But the key factor in asking that question is not to stop there, but to submit it to the Lord. Jesus submitted to His Father’s will by saying, “not My will but Yours be done.” Have hope that there are answers to your questions, even if you don’t find them when you are asking. God knows. This leads us to the second point where we can find hope.
Hope in a Sovereign God:
There are four people involved in a miscarriage: the child, the mother, the father, and the Lord. It is not always easy to remember during time of great pain and sorrow, but according to scripture God is the giver and taker of life. Death is ultimately a byproduct of sin. Death hurts. There is no way around it. But when you have an understanding that God is sovereign over both life and death, it should bring comfort to know that the death of that little child was not an accident. We should rejoice that the Lord counted us worthy to have that blessing for even a day. God in His highest ways knew that it was best for His purpose. He does not say that we have to enjoy His plan (I am sure Job did not), but when we have a good understanding of who He is we can submit to it and find hope that He knows what He is doing . . . and that He loves us while doing it.
Hope That You Will See Them Again One Day:
According to where you fall in the “covenant children” spectrum, this point of hope can be controversial. Time, and words, would fail me if I tried to give a complete biblical defense of why I think infants who die very young go to heaven when they die (look here for my defense). However, I believe there is great biblical hope for a parent who is a believer that suffers a miscarriage that they will one day see their child in glory. This is one of the reasons my wife and I named our child that we miscarried. While the case for miscarried (and even young children) going to heaven when they die is not as black and white as something such as the divinity of Jesus, or the virgin birth, I still believe we can say with a high degree of confidence that if you are a believer, you will one day again be united with that unborn child. What hope that should bring.
Hope For Healing For Your Wife:
This miscarriage was the hardest thing I have ever dealt with. Part of the reason for the hurt was seeing the pain my wife suffered. For weeks she cried, it seemed like non-stop. I felt helpless to do anything for her. It felt the pain of the loss, but not in the same way she did. I found the best thing I could do for her was to pray constantly, have a listening ear, and be a shoulder to cry on. While my words did not bring much comfort to her during the first few weeks, she has since told me that what spoke volumes to her was me simply showing my love in these other ways. I must admit: that was a God thing. I am a fixer. But for this hurt . . . the fix was just holding her and letting her cry. I had hope that the Lord would heal her broken spirit . . . because I knew that I could not.
Miscarriage is difficult. It hurts. But for the Christian, there is hope. We have a Father who crushed His own son so that His people could have a hope. We have a Savior who can sympathize with us in our pain. Finding hope during the distress of a miscarriage it not always easy, but if you are willing to look . . . it is there.
Soli Deo Gloria,
Adam B Burrell