We sat in a circle, ladies sharing our hearts after a talk about having faith. My sweet friend shared her fears, talked of the crucible of faith that had become her heart these sixteen weeks. Spoke of the faith that grew in her heart as the child grew, sixteen weeks day by day, in her womb.
This was no easy faith. Twice before, you see, at sixteen weeks my friend had known the grief of losing tiny sons, the babies she had longed to hold, to mother. Twice before. There was no reason, there was no explanation, only emptiness and grief.
And so this faith, it was not the ordinary kind. Oh, we long so much to have that ordinary reassurance, to have the child-like faith that everything will turn out, just like we want it to. To have the comfortable, blind, naive assurance that a good God, a fair God, would never let such terrible things happen. Not to a family who has had them happen already twice in a row. Not to a family whose little children have been praying, each day, for the baby in Mommy’s tummy to live this time. Oh, please, not again.
My friend, she knows a deeper kind of faith. A kind of faith that breaks the heart, a kind of faith that walks blindly in the darkness of that brokenness and weeps, yet still knows that the hand of God cups ’round, embraces, heals with ways and plans beyond all understanding. I have to have faith, she said, not that this baby will make it, but that God is good and is in control no matter what happens.
So much, we wanted to see that faith rewarded with a perfect outcome. So much, we wanted this time to be different, this time for her to bring that child home in her arms and for the glory of God to be shown by the miracle of a child’s safe birth. But it was not to be. Just days after we prayed in that circle, the nightmare began a third time. One more tiny, perfect son, lost. One more devastating night in the hospital, one more crushing loss. This time, they almost lost her. This time, the bleeding wouldn’t stop. And when she woke up, confused by the doctors saying they’d saved her life, that she was lucky to be alive, she knew the loss was even more final: no more pregnancies, the risk is too great. She walked out with empty arms and an emptiness in her heart that no words can justly describe.
In such devastating grief, even the strongest Christian begs to know….Where was God?
He knew about this. He allowed it. He had the power to stop it and He chose not to. Why?
And this is where the faith comes in, the messy faith, the ugly faith, the heart-breaking faith that defies all earthly reason. This, now, is where faith seems to be lost and the empty heart seems to swallow the soul and the broken pieces seem too shattered to make sense of, too scattered to even start to put back together. This is where the broken-hearted faith stumbles, wounded and bleeding and crying out to God in pain, in grief, and yes…in rage and where the soul rends and the strength fails and hope seems far away. Where faith is just a thread, is a frayed and knotted rope you didn’t realize you were holding on to, where faith is a path cut through the tangled weeds and briers that you didn’t realize you were walking on until you look back, see it cut its way through the impossible darkness, winding ’round the hidden pits and snares. It is where you say the words, God is good, in all things and you don’t understand them and sometimes you don’t even want them and yet they stand, they pull you through, they pull you through.
Friends, will you pray with me for my friend? For her family? I know many of you have suffered similar losses, if you feel led to will you email me or leave a link in the comment box…any words of wisdom, any thoughts or stories that might help would be appreciated.