On the Loss of a Child in the Womb

The English language has over 500,000 words, and no combination of them can express the despair at the loss of a child in the womb. Hope is laid waste in a single ultrasound or unexpected flow of blood. Dreams of a growing family turn into nightmares of doubt and sadness.

Two of my very close friends have recently suffered the loss of a child in the womb. My wife and I, too, know this pain. It’s strange how you can become so attached to a person who hasn’t even entered the world yet. But from the moment you find out that new life is growing inside a woman’s body, both mother and father experience a connection with the person-to-be.

That’s why it’s so hard when the life of an unborn child is lost. You feel so powerless, so helpless to control what goes on inside a person’s body. A woman may feel like a failure. Like she did something wrong that jeopardized the child’s life. And the man may feel useless. Clumsy with words and incapable of adequately supporting the woman who would be the mother of his child. A miscarriage makes us question ourselves and all our most cherished beliefs.

Turning Away from God

This is the time when we want to turn away from God. We rage at Him. “How could you let this happen?” We tell ourselves, “God can’t be good if he would allow this kind of pain in my life.”

Those feelings are understandable. They remind us the world is not as it should be. All is not well. There is something horrifically wrong with a reality in which a child can die before he or she even reaches birth. Knowing the world is messed up makes pain understandable, but it doesn’t make pain go away.

What do you do after a miscarriage? How do you soothe your soul?

The Bible has words of peace. Verses and stories can bring comfort, hope, and even joy…in time. But it does take time. When you lose a child the ellipses between tragedy and healing is where you must live for a season. It’s not easy. The space between disintegration and reintegration requires the most faith.

The moments immediately after disaster swoops into your life is where your faith is most tested. Our natural instinct tells us to reject an ultimate Being who claims to be good and yet permits such misery. We want to numb the pain. So alcohol, sex, denial, and distraction become our obsessions. These may occupy our attention for a time. But in the end the ache of loss endures.

Turning Toward God

The solution is not to turn away from God, but to turn toward Him. Running to God after a miscarriage or any other tragedy will not come naturally. It requires a supernaturally empowered act of faith to cling to God in tragic circumstances.

Faith is the key. Sometimes the pain darkens our world so much that we cannot see God’s goodness. We cannot intellectually or emotionally reconcile our pain with God’s benevolence. We must simply believe, in spite of our circumstances, that God is who He says He is. In times of our worst pain, it is not so much us clinging to God as God clinging to us. We simply pray to our Father, “God, please don’t let me go. I don’t have the strength right now to hold on to you. But please hold on to me.”

We don’t turn toward God to instantly feel better. We don’t turn toward Him so we can put on a smile and fake optimism in front of the world. We don’t turn toward God because it’s the “religious thing to do.”

We turn toward God because if we turn away from Him we turn away from our only true source of healing. We turn toward God because in His arms is the safest place to be when we feel completely exposed by pain. We turn toward God because we know that someday He will make it hurt less. We don’t know how long that will take, and He is not under any obligation to make our lives comfortable. But we know that God honors those who seek Him when calamity makes that search agonizing.

The God Who Gets It

I hate the initial shock of hearing you’ve lost a child. I hate even more the dull throb of heartbreak that lasts for days, weeks, and months afterwards. I hate that miscarriages continue to happen. I hate even more when they happen to my friends. I hate the awkward attempts at comfort that family and friends offer. I hate even more when I’m that awkward person who can’t do anything to make it better.

But as much as I hate miscarriages, God hates them even more. As much as I want my child to grow and flourish, God wants it even more. And all the shredding pain I’ve felt over the loss of a child, God has experienced the same pain. He sent His Son, His only begotten Son, and that Son was murdered. Jesus went to His death willingly, but no being felt the loss more acutely than His heavenly Father. God gets it. He understands your pain because He experienced it Himself.

We can go to God in the loss of a child because God lost His own Son. He sacrificed Him so that we could have access to God’s depthless stores of grace and love. It is to that deep, deep well of healing that we must plunge our buckets of sorrow and have them filled with the waters of life.

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