As I look back over this past month since finding out we had lost another child, and back nine months further when we first began this painful journey through loss, I realized that I have experienced more of Jesus than I would have been ready to embrace had I not been in this place of grief, because this road of sorrow has led me straight to the heart of God. And it has been because of this sorrow that I have been able to in some small way identify with His sorrow.
These nine months have pushed me further and deeper into the embrace of my loving God and into a position of deep security and peace in the arms of The One who knows what it feels like to be crushed by grief and pain. So even in this pain where tears are always close to the surface and my heart is heavy from missing my little ones, I can say, “I am truly blessed.” Because…
His plan is perfect.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:9
I’ve seen how throughout my life, the time I have spent in prayer has been focused far more on getting what I desire from God, than on entering in to what God desires for me. But I have begun to see that while this journey of losing two little ones has been extremely painful it has also been highly purposeful. My God, who made the entire universe without error, has made no mistakes in the plans He has made for my life. I know that He can and will use everything in my life, no matter how devastating, for my good, because I am His.
I have committed an abundance of time and energy into praying for a miracle for each of our sweet babies, knowing full well that my God, who holds the keys of death in His hands, is more than capable of restoring life and health. But that was not His plan. And while my miracle may not have been the health and healing of my little ones, it has without a doubt been more of Him in me. And this miracle, the miracle of His presence in my life in ways I had not experienced it before, has infused our loss with great meaning.
His purpose is perfect.
“I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” -Psalm 57:2
I have come to recognize the significance of God’s purpose in my life. He has not promised to keep me from sickness, grief, and pain, but rather to purify me and empower me to place all of my hope fully in Him. My Lord was beaten and killed so that I could be made whole, not so that I would be free from sorrow, and He has called me into a life of purpose in Him, not a life of comfort.
I have seen that the deeper I go with Jesus – the more I choose to completely abide in Him – the more significant is the healing I am experiencing. Because this healing is not merely a healing of my body, but of my very soul. God’s purposes have been at work through this sorrow, as He cuts away at the sinful places of my heart so that I can continue to flourish. He is cleansing me day-by-day, chiseling out anything that has been preventing me from seeing that apart from Him, I have no good thing (Ps 16:2).
His timing is perfect.
“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11
Initially, as my heart was longing for our babies, I felt like they had been taken too soon; that their lives on this earth had been too short. But as I have come to understand God’s Sovereignty in a deeper way, I know that the purposes of God for the lives of my children were perfectly fulfilled in the number of days He ordained for them.
Each minute, every beat of their hearts, all of their days were perfectly numbered. No purpose in their lives was left unfulfilled. I may not fully understand on this side of eternity why this timing was best for them and for me, but because I know who my God is, I can accept what my God gives, and when He chooses for it all to happen.
His presence is perfect.
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” -Psalm 16:11
The more I have become acquainted with sorrow the more I have come to see that it often feels like emptiness. And this understanding has brought me to a place of greater hope, because I know that God’s Word is full of promises of His ability and desire to fill our emptiness with Himself. In being dealt the emptiness of sorrow I was being made ripe to be filled by the joy of His presence.
This is not the path that I would have ever chosen, but it is the path that God has laid before me. And while each step deeper into His presence has been reached at great cost, I am starting to see just how true it is that dying to myself is the only way I can truly live. And in so doing my heart is learning to treasure His presence above everything else that I’ve let go of.
There was a part of me that thought that in trusting God through sorrow, this loss wouldn’t feel so painful. But that hasn’t been true. It doesn’t hurt less when you trust in God. However, the pain has not overwhelmed me, because in being connected to Christ, He is shouldering this burden with me. As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4, I am pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed. Perplexed, but not driven to despair. Knocked down, but not destroyed. And certainly never abandoned by God, because it is His presence that enables me to overcome.
I have found more of Jesus in these hard, broken places. He has been at work in my life in ways that I certainly can take no credit for. And I know that He is not done teaching me through this sorrow. But I trust that as I keep pressing into Him, lifting my heart in worship, and pouring over His Word I will continue to receive more of Him. And that is where true blessing is found.
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul…” -Psalms 16: 5-10