My son and I sat on the floor in his room playing Rummy. We had just a few minutes before rushing off to register for his summer swim class and wanted to get in one more round of play. This summer was proving to be the best ever. Our Golden Retriever, Ginger, had just delivered seven adorable puppies, Steven was enjoying his sixth summer of life, and after four years of the heartache of negative pregnancy tests, God had surprised us with a new life growing inside my womb.
But as Steven and I sat on the floor, I felt a warm sticky sensation run down my leg. A trip to the bathroom confirmed my greatest fear.
Later that afternoon, our baby died, and is now waiting for us in heaven.
What began as a summer full of life and joy, quickly turned into a season of great loss and sadness. I mourned for that child for which I had prayed. I felt the ache of empty arms.
I once heard someone say, “I never knew I could miss someone that I had never met.” Now I understood. We never knew for sure, but in my heart, I felt that the baby had been a little girl.
During those summer months, I went through the grieving process step-by-step. I’ll admit that I was angry at God for “taunting” me with this gift of a child and then taking her away. But through the months and years that followed, God taught me many lessons about myself, about Him, and about trusting in His unfailing love.
I believe that when we go through a trial that wounds us deeply, God can use it to teach us valuable lessons. Some of those lessons are a deeper understanding of who God is, of who we are, and of what we truly believe.
One of my most valuable lessons, through all my wounds and scars, was a decision to stop saying “why me?” and to begin saying “what now?” But the lesson that continues to reverberate like a gentle thunder is the truth of God’s unfailing love.
During the months that followed the loss of our child, I struggled with God. Just as Jacob wrestled with God through his dark night of the soul, I wrestled as well.
How could He love me and allow this to happen? Why would God withhold my dream? Is He able? Is He kind? Is He really there?
It was a dry summer…in my heart and soul. No one could help me, comfort me, or lift me out of my deep pit of sadness. And while I didn’t want to talk to God, He never left my side. Patiently, He waited for me to cry out to Him…to say, I will trust you even though I do not understand.
It is easy to trust God when life is skipping happily along. It is a deeper faith that forms when the skipping halts to the slow crawl of despair. Honestly, I never enjoy the struggles, but I do revel in the deeper understanding of God that is forged in the fire.
As Peter wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV).
Dear Lord, sometimes things happen in my life that I just don’t understand. But I know You hold the box top to the puzzle pieces, and You know how the pieces all fit together. I trust You, Lord. Though Your ways may twist and turn as through a maze, I know that You make no mistakes. You are good…all the time. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Leave a comment and share what you are trusting God with today.
Sometimes life doesn’t turn out like we thought it would. But God doesn’t want us to get stuck in our sorrow. He longs to turn our pain into purpose, our hurt into hope, and our miseries into ministry. But the only way He can do that is if we are willing to give Him the broken pieces of our shattered dreams and allow Him to make a beautiful mosaic from the shards. Are you ready? Now’s the time. You can learn how to do just that in my book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Past.