Reflections on loss, hope, death, and life

One year ago today I was sitting in Alumni Chapel listening to Dr. Albert Mohler preach on the seventh commandment.  My phone would not stop vibrating and my wife knew where I was.  When it became apparent that she wasn’t calling to leave a voice mail I knew something wasn’t right.  A chill went down my spine because I knew that she was supposed to be at the OBGYN’s office for a routine appointment.

I conspicuously slipped out of chapel and immediately dialed my cell.  It was chilly and drizzling, at least it is in my recollection.  I was already running to my car by the time she picked up.  She told me I needed to get there.  I asked what was wrong.  She said we probably lost the baby.

I drove as fast as I could within the limits of reason, praying all the while that somehow Liz and I might be spared this.  When I got to the office a nurse was waiting for me to let me straight through and I knew it was real.  I was taken into the doctor’s office where my wife was, crying.  Our baby was dead, a reality reinforced two days later when a D&C was performed.

One year later I believe I can honestly say that not one second went by in which I blamed or questioned God.  Somehow, someway, I had a peace that surpasses all understanding, even in the midst of pain, even in the midst of tears.  Was I cold to what had happened?  Not at all.  I would find myself tearing up or outright shedding tears at random times for several days, even weeks.  But was there ever a time when that peace wasn’t there?  No.

And that, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, is the grace of God in action.  I suppose the pain was more real for Liz.  It was her body.  She had felt the pregnancy, and certainly the D&C.  One day there was a heartbeat in there and the next day there wasn’t, the result of what can best be explained as a chromosomal abnormality (which is really no explanation).  We don’t know what happened.  We just know that one moment we were going to have a baby and the next minute we weren’t.

Pain?  Yes.  But grace?  Absolutely.  The peace God gave me is a gift I surely didn’t deserve.  That said, I absolutely thank God that it happened when it did, and not later in the pregnancy (as one of my best friend’s recently experienced), or perhaps after the birth.  Does that sound callous?  I don’t think it does.  Maybe God protected us from even more pain by allowing what happened to happen when it did.

Ultimately, the peace God gave me was grounded in the confidence I have that my child was immediately, and still is, in the presence of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  That’s a belief I have been taught from I don’t know when, masked in the ambiguous and misleading language of an “act of accountability.”  Nevertheless, I believe in a state of accountability and have 100-percent confidence that my child is with the Lord.  I have a godly jealously of my child who never breathed a breath on this earth.  I will go to him/her, but he/she will not come to me.

One year later I praise God for His amazing grace.  He has given us another child… hope in the midst of hopelessness, riches in the midst of loss.  In one month our daughter will be born and we couldn’t be more excited.  God has continued to give us peace about our loss, and has provided us a Seth to take the place of Abel, so to speak.  Joshua, my four year old son, who is as excited as Mommy and Daddy are, is a reminder by name that Yahweh saves.  For that I praise God from whom all blessings flow.

In the aftermath of our miscarriage I sought to solidify my beliefs regarding my lost child with Scripture.  The result was a short research paper that I finished last spring.  I’ve published it on this blog before but now resubmit it for your consideration (link below).  I know many have, are, and will go through a similar trial.  Maybe this paper will help, but mostly, I pray that God will give peace to others as he did to my wife and me.