When people ask me how they can help and practically love those who go through a miscarriage I usually begin by telling them to simply listen. Listen to that dear woman’s story, to the story of her baby, to the story of her loss. Let her tell you all the details that she desires to, let her show you her sonogram pictures and walk through the memories of finding out she was pregnant. As much as she is willing and desirous, let her open up to you and cry with you.
Though you may not fully understand the type of pain she is feeling, let her help you understand. Hold her hand, embrace her shaking body and allow her pain to be your own. Don’t just sympathize with her, empathize.
One of the most difficult things about miscarriage is the isolation you feel when it happens. This is especially true if you lose the baby early on. Sometimes the baby’s existence has not even been announced yet and even if it has, it is difficult for others to understand the deep sense of loss you feel for a baby they couldn’t see or feel themselves.
You are the only one who has felt the changes going on in your body, the only one who’s been fully aware of the miracle happening within you. You are the only one who has suddenly and drastically felt the absence of life where it once bloomed.
Sharing your pain with another sister-in-Christ allows you to affirm the life of the child you lost. It validates your sorrow and gives you the blessing of knowing that others are mourning with you, mourning your precious baby. Empathy is a powerful thing.
If the empathy of a friend can be so encouraging to the soul, what can we say of the incredible blessings found in our Savior’s ability to empathize with us? Only that it is one of the most miraculous and beneficial medicines to the ailing soul. This truth is pivotal for the woman who miscarries to remember as she works through the joys and fears of a new pregnancy.
Their is a gut-wrenching, physically debilitating kind of fear that can overwhelm you if it is allowed to. For the woman who miscarries, the joys of new life are accompanied by a real understanding of the pain that could come again, of the reality that may loom before her. Every day is one of waiting, praying, and hoping for her child’s safety.
Every day is another opportunity to gather up all those fears of the future and and to offer them as a gift to the Savior who walked toward the most horrific of experiences and bravely accepted the providence of his Father.
The Savior in the Garden
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me…” (Luke 22:42 ESV)
There is this picture of Christ found in the gospels that is unlike any other in the Bible. Never before and never again was he recorded as being so psychologically distraught and personally afflicted as in the Garden of Gethsemane. What spiritual torment he faced as he contemplated the terrible suffering he was about to encounter! Not only was his human flesh meant to walk through the most disgusting of torments, but most horrifying to the Son of God was the knowledge of the full and perfect wrath of his Father being poured out upon him for the sins of his people.
Only he, the holy Christ, perfect in every way could comprehend the pain that would be required of him as he offered himself as a substitute for our sins.
There, on the ground of this tarnished earth our holy God threw himself into prayer, sweating great drops of blood at the mere thought of the suffering before him.
And yet, with him there was no sin.
Never in all of his agony did he distrust the Father. Though the worst of experiences laid before him, his nature could not allow him to waver in conviction and obedience. His love for the Father could not be broken in that moment, and his love for his people would be displayed through the bravest act of sacrifice history will ever know.
“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.”
(Isaiah 53:10-11 ESV)
“Not my will, but yours.”
It is obvious that Christ did not look forward to the suffering he would soon encounter–it was a horrifying prospect that we will never fully comprehend. And yet, he did not give in to fear. He did not allow the tumult of emotion surging through him to cloud his view of the Father. Even in this psychological torment he overcame and submitted himself gladly to the will of God.
Is this not what we so desire as those walking a road of uncertainty? Is this not the kind of spirit the woman who fears her pregnancy desires to have? Though the future may hold more pain and sorrow, though she may lose her precious child once again, does she not long to cast fear itself aside and walk in a manner worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ?
Here, in the Garden of Gethsemane, we find our empathy from Christ and in the same stroke our victory.
He, our perfect Savior is all at once our model of faith, our comforter in the face of affliction, and our victory over the flesh that would just as soon hide from the future in fear.
When that pregnancy test comes back positive and the thought of another loss enters your mind, look to your Savior Christ the one who walked his entire earthly life toward a future day of atonement. He is your model of obedience, he is your supreme illustration of trust in the Father. Let his faithfulness and example encourage you in your own struggles!
When those familiar memories of pain and heartache come back in a flood of agony, threatening to overwhelm you, remember that there is one who has gone through even worse. There is one who,though we will never truly comprehend his suffering, can completely and totally understand yours. He has walked the path of torment and because of it, can offer you fellowship far surpassing any other earthly friend. Go to him with your fears and ask him to transform them into faith. Ask him to cover your failings with his perfection.
You can be assured of his willingness and ability to do this because his own obedience to the Lord through suffering freed you to do the same. No longer must you be bound by the chains of fear, because you are free to trust in our Heavenly Father just as Christ did! When Christ came to this earth he didn’t only come to take the punishment for your sins, he also came to release you from their captivity. Through Christ, you too can walk toward a possible future of pain with complete trust in your loving and wise Father. This grace is freely yours!
“But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” (Romans 6:22 ESV)
Father God, as we face your future providence, be it full of happy times are full of sorrow, would you strengthen us by your Holy Spirit to joyfully submit to it just as your Son did? Would you give us the grace to choose your will over our own no matter how little we understand of your purposes. Would the fellowship of your Son strengthen, comfort and encourage us as we seek to honor you with our bodies and future pregnancies.
“Well now, Beloved, if the Lord shall bring us into deep waters and cause us to pass through fiery trials—if His Spirit shall enable us to pray as Jesus did, we shall see something like the same result in our own experience! We shall rise up from our knees strengthened for all that lies before us and fitted to bear the Cross that our Lord may have ordained for us. In any case, our cup can never be as deep or as bitter as His was—there were in His cup some ingredients that never will be found in ours. The bitterness of sin was there, but He has taken that away for all who believe in Him. His Father’s wrath was there, but He drank that all up and left not a single drop for any of His people. One of the martyrs, as he was on his way to the stake, was so supremely happy that a friend said to him, “Your Savior was full of sorrow when He agonized for you in Gethsemane.” “Yes,” replied the martyr, “and for that very reason I am so happy, for He bore all the sorrow for me.” You need not fear to die, if you are a Christian, since Jesus died to put away your sin—and death is but the opening of your cage to let you fly, to build your happy nest on high! Therefore, fear not even the last enemy, which is Death. Besides, Christ could not have a Savior with Him to help Him in His agony, but you have His assurance that He will be with you! You shall not have merely an angel to strengthen you, but you shall have that great Angel of the Covenant to save and bless you even to the end!” -Charles Spurgeon
“O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!”
-S. Trevor Francis