Romans 8:28 tells us that "for those who love God all things work together for good." For the woman who has miscarried, these words can feel like a terrible cosmic joke. Can something so horrific--something so terribly bad--like losing your baby really, truly be used by God for your good? This is one of the difficult truths of scripture that I attempt to answer in my book, Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb, and I did so with much fear and trembling. For truly, one of the last things a woman who just experienced the death of her baby wants to hear is that God allowed it to happen for her good.
And yet, this difficult and biblical truth can be one of the most encouraging and beautiful of all realities for a woman when she miscarries. The knowledge that her pregnancy was not wasted--that it has eternal worth and purpose--can lift her mourning soul from the depths of futility to the heights of gospel hope.
Here is an excerpt from the chapter, "Hard Frosts and Spring's Flowers," in which I explain some of the ways a woman who miscarries can expect to see spiritual good in the midst of her loss:
Spirit, Use This
Nausea, fatigue, morning sickness, migraines, cramping, dizziness: these are all symptoms of early pregnancy that women experience in varying degrees. Hopes and dreams also accompany these physical symptoms: visions of rocking your bundle of joy to sleep, braiding the hair of your little princess, teaching your son how to throw a baseball. As the physical symptoms change your body, the promise that it will all be worth it in the end keeps you pushing forward, one cracker at a time.
Then suddenly it’s all over. The visions of your child disperse like a fine mist as the ultrasound technician sneaks out the door to tell your doctor the bad news. Now you are faced with the heart-breaking thought that it has all been for nothing. The physical symptoms that have plagued you for the past couple of months have led to this, your baby’s death. It can feel like such a waste.
Yet, according to Romans 8, nothing from the smallest inconvenience in your day to the biggest disappointment of your life is outside the redeeming hand of God. This loss has not been for nothing, and no pregnancy is a waste. In reality, the past weeks of pregnancy—no matter how many they were—as well as the future weeks, months, and even years of sorrow, are actually meant for your good as they lead to greater Christlikeness.
The Spirit of God may choose to do this in many ways. As we close this chapter, we will look at five ways that our loving God may use your miscarriage for your spiritual good.
During his earthly ministry, Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). God calls every one of us to turn from our sins and put our trust in Jesus for salvation. Is it possible that you have never truly done this? As the profound loss of your child filters through your soul, do you find yourself wrestling with questions about God’s goodness and your relationship to him?
This trial may be the gracious hand of God calling you out of your spiritual slumber and into a genuine, saving knowledge of him. Search your heart and allow this sobering experience to reveal the substance of your faith. Have you been trusting in something other than Christ alone for your salvation—perhaps your family’s faith, your good works, or your morality? No greater good could come from this tragedy than for you to turn to the Savior and seek his forgiveness for your sins. He is ready and willing to do just that.
When all earthly joys are stripped away, we often experience a heightened sense of the presence of God in our lives. Just as you find your hearing enhanced when you sit in complete darkness, so too we can more easily appreciate and treasure God’s ever-present love when the distractions of this life dissipate. In these times of suffering when the things that once filled our lives with joy are no longer available to us, we can see his fellow- ship for what it truly is: the sweetest of all life’s blessings.
As David prayed in Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” As we saw in the previous chapter, the great blessing every Christian receives during trials is the heightened reality of God’s presence with them.
As we fix our gaze amid painful trials upon our loving Savior, a marvelous thing happens—we become more like him. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 3:18 that it is in “beholding the glory of the Lord” that we “are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” In other words, as we cling tightly “to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2), the Holy Spirit is hard at work, bringing about our sanctification. Trials are an essential tool that God uses to conform us to the image of his Son precisely because they force us into greater Christ-dependency.
This is why the Bible often encourages us to welcome trials into our lives with joy. It isn’t because they are inherently fun or pleasant, but because God is faithful to use them for our spiritual good—ridding us of sinful self-reliance and replacing it with humble trust in our sovereign God. In James 1:2–5 we are told to “count it all joy” when we experience trials because they produce steadfastness of character, which leads to spiritual maturity. Similarly, Paul calls us to,
Rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3–5)
As we walk through the terrible trial of miscarriage, we can have confidence that our loving God will do this good work in us. We can rejoice in the knowledge that he is maturing our faith and conforming us to the image of his Son. He is teaching us to find our peace and hope in the gospel rather than in earthly blessings, and in so doing fitting our hearts and minds for heaven. Miscarriages will produce spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22–23) in the life of a Christian woman—for her good and for the glory of God. In this, we can rejoice.
A marvelous blessing that will flow from your miscarriage will be the ability to relate to other sufferers in their times of sorrow. In a world marred by sin, we have many opportunities for fellowship among the mourning, but it can be difficult to know exactly how to serve and love with sensitivity those walking through various types of grief. Personal pain and loss equips you with a heightened sensitivity to the needs of others and a precious ability to enter into their grief. A woman who experi- ences miscarriage will be better equipped to serve those who encounter similar loss, showing them the love and compassion of God. In this way, God equips us to bear sympathetically the burdens of fellow brothers and sisters in Christ (Galatians 6:2) and to suffer genuinely alongside them (1 Corinthians 12:26). As Paul said of his own trials, God “comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:4)."
Two more blessings (for testimony and for perspective) follow these first three in my book. If you or someone you know is experiencing miscarriage, you can find Inheritance of Tears on Amazon or at Cruciform Press. I pray that the encouragement you find within its pages will draw you near to our good and gracious Savior in your time of sorrow.