Miscarriage. To some of us, it is a very clinical word. We recognize its meaning in a very abstract and detached sense. However, to many others, it is an intensely personal and painful word. It can be a word that defines whole chapters of people’s lives. It has touched the majority of relationships closest to me and it’s important that the Church not only acknowledge its existence but speak God’s life and healing to these circumstances as well.
Each of us tend to react in our own way to deep loss and struggle in our lives. If you tend to be optimistic, you might be one who experiences loss and attempts to laugh off the pain like it didn’t affect you. If you tend to be pessimistic, you may blame yourself for not “getting over” the loss or mourning more quickly, inflicting additional pain on yourself. But if you’re a realist, you may recognize that there is no way to avoid pain in this life and that God remains with us through it all.
Though there’s much to say about the optimistic, pain-denying issues that can occur, we’re going to focus on the more pessimistic and harsh reaction that can occur in our minds when we’ve been through struggles like these. I’ve spoken to many who have experienced miscarriage and loss and I’m always amazed at the number of ways that we heap guilt and shame on ourselves for not finding ways to avoid the situation, seeing the red-flags, making some different decision, or ‘getting over’ the pain more quickly. We tend to be full of self-inflicted wounds.
I’m speaking to each of you reading who has been through a difficult loss with feelings that you should have acted differently in some way – we’re all going to experience pain and loss. There’s no way around it, even if you had acted differently! In John 16:33, Jesus ministers to our broken hearts when He says that we “will have suffering in this world….” We are experiencing what life in a broken world offers. We must still anticipate the time where we’re present with our Creator and Sustainer in the place where no tears will flow and there will be no mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4).
Despite the suffering of being separated from this God for a time, we “may have peace… [and can] be courageous! [Jesus has] conquered the world” (John 16:33 continued). This is what sorrow being turned to joy in John 16 is about! Many of us have lived without hope. We have suffered many things. Those sufferings can take many forms like miscarriage, but ultimately I can tell you, we are straining against this life where we’re not able to be in the presence of our Lord. We’re seeking for the existence we’re built for, where we can be wrapped in the arms of our Savior and walk with Him as we were designed to do.
Listen – your pain is validated. Your heartbreak over loss is so real and it cuts deep. But I want you to know that this Advent season is about a God who did not watch as you suffered alone. He sent His Son to be born into this painfully broken world. He lay in His manger with infinite power in those tiny hands and behind that little cooing voice. He came to save us from our exile from God. He came to present us the hope of reconciliation with the God who heals us.
We’re all victims of heartbreak and loss. We’re all victims (as well as partakers, let’s not forget) in this sinful, broken world. But this Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the only child that will one day make all things new, who will wipe away your tears, and who will bring you the peace that you so desire but that always seems out of reach. He’s calling you. I pray we all experience Him in a fresh way this Advent season.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff