(By Melissa Bell)
Have you ever had a curveball thrown at you? No, we aren’t speaking baseball, but about when life throws you something that you weren’t expecting. Oftentimes it can leave you striking out hard!
My curveball came in 2014 when I had a miscarriage. My husband Al and five-year-old son Nathan were excited, and nervously awaiting a new addition to our family. I have Lupus and I was fully aware that pregnancy could be risky, but when the midwife said, “There’s no heartbeat,” we were shocked. My husband and I believed God had shown us in His word that we were to have another child, so why did He allow this to happen?
Sometimes terrible things happen in our lives and it’s very difficult to see how God can turn them into something good. We are reminded in James chapter one that we should rejoice when difficult trials come because ultimately, they will mold us into someone who resembles Christ more than they did before the trial. I do feel that God used our sad time for His glory and I’d like to share some of the spiritual and life lessons He taught us.
During the hours of Jack’s labor, Al remembered a message we heard months before: a message that had also spoken to me. It was the story in Mark four of Christ with His disciples on the Sea of Galilee during the storm. While the storm raged and the disciples sat at the edge of peril, their Lord was sleeping in the belly of their boat. Had their terror made them forget that the very Creator of the universe, the Almighty Sovereign over all nature was sailing along with them? We found it fascinating that they even chided Christ for not caring that they would perish. How foolish they were. But are we not foolish too at times? We bear our heavy burdens instead of taking them directly to the Lord. We often forget He’s right along with us through the storm. How compassionate the Lord was in his reply, “Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith?” (Mark 4:40). It’s also interesting that Christ had told them to go on this journey across the sea. He fully knew they would go through the storm and fail in their faith. He’s not surprised by our trials. Let us allow ourselves to be comforted by Scripture when we go through a trial and allow God to teach us about Himself and how we can be more like Him. Despite the extreme grief, the comfort God gave us allowed us to have a calm through the labor, the time we spent with Jack, and during the following days.
Lemons into Lemonade:
Remember the line from the Sound of Music, “When God closes a door, He always opens a window.” While not theology, I do think Maria’s little proverb does have merit. I was determined that our little Jack’s life was not going to be meaningless. Two examples stand out to me. First, God gave us a supernatural calmness in the hospital during our twenty-four-hour stay. We were able to witness to the staff about the goodness of our Lord and how our faith in Him was helping us through the ordeal. Secondly, God allowed us to be able to use the experience to create a tract to distribute. The primary purpose of the tract was to share the gospel with unbelievers, but also to share our story of comfort in the time of storms. I have no idea what eternal dividends the tract will produce, but I’m confident His word doesn’t return void. Is there some way God can redeem the trial you are experiencing or have gone through? Maybe it’s an opportunity for spiritual growth, evangelism, or the encouragement of others?
On occasion, I amuse myself by remembering the sanctimonious quotes from dear Mary Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Who could forget her “comforting” her sisters in a time of trial with her sage words that they should “Pour into the wounded bosoms of each other the balm of sisterly consolation”? This is so true, and yet how little we do it. I have been amazed and actually quite shocked by how many people have approached me to tell they, too, have had a miscarriage. Some of the dearest notes Al and I received were the “heartfelt balms” from sisters who have also experienced miscarriage. These notes were precious to us. There’s no doubt miscarriage has been a taboo subject among women in general and especially among believers. It is also true that we all have different levels of comfort with disclosing our personal details. We need to be mindful of this as some people may not want to talk about this painful topic. But with prayerful sensitivity and love, let us not be fearful in trying to encourage others who may be going through a similar trial that we have gone through. Second Corinthians chapter one focuses on the comfort God gives to us when we are in need and subsequently the comfort that we should then extend to others when they are in need. The principal is best said in verses three and four:
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
William McDonald’s comments on this passage are so true, “God comforts us not to be comfortable, but to comfort others.” Let’s not be afraid, even long after someone has experienced a trial, to remind them you haven’t forgotten about their sorrow and that you are praying for them. Five years have come and gone, and while most have forgotten, or just don’t think about the fact we lost a baby, there is one dear friend that periodically reminds me she prays for me and she acknowledges the loss of the dreams and hopes we had wrapped up in our little son. Her comments are like little jewels from heaven to me. She too has experienced sorrow and loss in her life. Perhaps you can gently rain down some jewels on a sister today with a small note telling her you haven’t forgotten the pain she has gone through, even though it might have been many years ago.
This was a deep time of sorrow and loss, for us, our son Nathan, and our family. Even though we didn’t know Jack, we mourn what could have been. But in truth, I can say that God did comfort us through it all and continues to comfort. I do believe little Jack’s life wasn’t in vain. Even though at times we may have questioned God as to why this happened to us, we now see His hand working through our loss and look to His good plans to be fulfilled in us.