Jasmine Holmes was so very kind to review my book, Inheritance of Tears: Trusting the Lord of Life When Death Visits the Womb, at The Gospel Coalition today. In her review, she quotes a paragraph from one of my favorite sections of the book entitled, "What to Expect from a Sin-Broken World."
I say that this section is one of my favorites, but it is not because I got to explain a happy thought. Rather, it is because I had the opportunity to express an essential truth that every Christian must lean on in times of great disappointment and pain in order to find hope and peace in the gospel message. I will post the entire section below in the hopes that it will bless all who are currently struggling through trials, but especially those dear sisters who have lost little ones.
For many of us, the effects of this fallen world seem like distant theological concepts that carry little weight in everyday life. As a result, we live with expectations befitting a pre-fall Eden, rather than a sin-broken Earth. We expect to live healthy, fulfilled lives. We expect to have marriages in which we perfectly understand and communicate with our spouses. We expect to become pregnant easily, carry our babies full-term, and deliver them in perfect health. Our hearts yearn for the creation to function as God intended it to, and thus we don't naturally expect pain, discord, or death. Yet, this is exactly the inescapable inheritance we've received from our first parents.
The daily manifestations of God's beautiful grace, which we are blessed to experience despite our fallen state, are like windows into a world we do not yet fully inhabit - a world where God's goodness flows, unhindered by sin, to his created beings. A world with no more pain or suffering or death. In short: heaven.
Yet we tend to believe that we deserve such comforts and perfections in this world. We picture ourselves living out our lives in peaceful delight, doing work we always love, serving in churches where nothing ever goes seriously wrong. We buy pregnancy books, fully expecting our babies to grow according to each chapter's description. Rarely do we consider the awful truth that our babies are conceived in sin-infected bodies walking around in a sin-infected world. Indeed, even our babies' genetic make-up is subjected to the same futility as the rest of creation. Though pregnancy books may encourage us to put off distressing thoughts such as miscarriage and stillbirth, a biblical worldview demands that we have a realistic view of what pregnancy can and sometimes does look like in a post-fall world.
It certainly isn't my aim to pain a hopeless picture for those already experiencing grief. There is real, good, credible hope in the gospel of Jesus Christ for every daughter of Eve. I want to encourage you - if possible - with the knowledge that miscarriage is indeed a terrible thing. Women who experience miscarriage rightly feel as though something horrific just happened to them and their child. They need not feel obligated to treat the event as something common that they should simply "get over" and "move on" from. It is common, but that does not lessen its horror! Miscarriage, like every other manifestation of the fall, is the opposite of what God intended for our world - it is not good, it is very bad. Knowing this is essential to our finding encouragement in Christ.
For many women, miscarriage will be one of their first experiences with the serious physical effects of the fall. I distinctly remember the emotions that surged through me when we lost our first baby to miscarriage. Suddenly, the idea of death took on a whole new meaning. As my womb was robbed of the life it once carried, the groaning of creation became terribly personal. Later on, when I delivered the lifeless body of another of our precious babies who had died at 15 weeks gestation, my soul yearned like never before for Christ to return and do away with death forever.
You can read more about Inheritance of Tears here.