Saturday, January 25, 2014

Be of good cheer

There is something very tangible about eternity when someone you love is already there. 
I imagine my unborn baby worshiping in the presence of our Savior. I see those hands I’ll never hold raised in worship that will never end, and I long to be there. 

But God, in his infinite wisdom, has placed me here, and here is where I'm called to love and serve Him, and share Him with the broken world around me.

Four years of grieving and four other beautiful children do not fill the void left by a child who never had a birthday. Only Jesus can do a thing like that. And He has, and He continues to. 

I've learned that I'm not good at grief all the time. Sometimes words of encouragement sound all well and good, and sometimes they are salt in my wounds. I mostly don't talk about it, except to comfort another. And every so often I still need to cry for the baby I lost, and that's okay. 

God didn't call me to dry my tears and move on. Jesus wept bitterly. He let a woman wipe his feet with her tears. God is not unacquainted with sadness, or put off by my sorrow that sometimes springs up out of nowhere. My prayer for our baby was that God would use his or her life for His glory. That life was shorter than I'd hoped, so I'm left to reflect on the work the Lord has done in me, and hope that He will be glorified in my remembering.

In the four years since our miscarriage, I have tasted and seen that the Lord is good. I have found refuge in Him. (Psalm 34:8)

I have reminded myself that the Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. And I have blessed the name of the Lord. (Job 1:21)

I have been reminded over and over again in His word that the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but God’s steadfast love will not depart from me. (Isaiah 54:10)

But I do not have a quick verse I can flip to to assure me that I’ll meet my child face to face one day. What I have is the simple assurance that my God is good, my God is holy, and my God, in an act of truly scandalous grace, breathed life into my heart of stone and offered me a salvation I didn’t deserve, and that I could never earn. I imagine the God who loves me like that--the God who bids me call him Abba, Daddy, the God who knew the baby I lost before He formed that child in my womb--is caring for that child even now. I hope. And I wait.
"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him." (Lamentations 3:21-24)
I must remember, even when it stings, that this suffering is temporal. And I say that knowing I will likely grieve this loss in some form or fashion for the remainder of my days here on earth. 

But this world is not my home, and this life is not my end. 
"But it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
Four years ago, I learned a hard lesson. God taught me that that my source of strength, of hope, and of joy cannot be found, or lost, in any of His blessings--even the blessing of a child. 

Be of good cheer, my Savior tells me.
“...for in this world, you will have trouble. But be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Those of us who are in Christ--we who have trusted in Him completely for our salvation--know that there is nothing that can separate us from His great love, no matter how painful. Miscarriage is a devastating loss, to be sure. But at the bottom of that pit I found the only true source of hope in the Giver of all good things, the Savior who knows my suffering and carries me through it.
“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? ...For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:32, 38-39)
And so I long for eternity--not because I hope to see my child there, but because I can’t wait to see my Savior there.

Jesus! what a friend for sinners! Jesus! lover of my soul;
Friends may fail me, foes assail me, He, my Savior, makes me whole
Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah! what a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end!
Jesus! what a strength in weakness! Let me hide myself in him;
Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing, He, my Strength, my vic'try wins. 
Jesus! what a help in sorrow! While the waves of sadness roll,
Even when my heart is breaking, He, my Comfort, helps my soul. 
Jesus! here I bring my burdens! Boundless joy in You I find.
You have granted me forgiveness, I am Yours, and You are mine!
Hallelujah! what a Savior! Hallelujah! what a friend!
Saving, helping, keeping, loving, He is with me to the end!

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