After our miscarriage a friend of mine (who had also experienced a miscarriage) relayed a conversation she had with another friend who, after reflecting back on her own pregnancy loss and infertility, was able to thank God for the suffering and the pain because of what it did in her own life. As we talked about our own trials we both commented that while it would be good and helpful to get to that realization in our own life, it was hard to see that far ahead in our own season of loss.
On April 2nd our baby should have turned one. Last year, as I approached the due date for the first time, fear was my constant companion. All I wanted to do was sleep through the day and pretend like it wasn’t happening. April 2nd looked very different for me than I hoped it would. Initially it was supposed to be our baby’s due date. After our miscarriage I at least hoped I would be pregnant again, leaving something to look forward to.
This year was much different. While I still have an empty womb, I didn’t dread April 2nd like I did last year. In fact, in a lot of ways it was a normal day for me. Daniel and I spent some time reflecting together. I was able to journal some. But sadness and darkness did not hover over us, and for that I’m grateful.
Over the last couple of years I have listened to the Come Weary Saints CD from Sovereign Grace over and over, and so many of the songs on there have ministered to my soul in some of my most discouraging days. One song in particular really hits home for me. It goes like this:
In Your grace, You know where I walk
You know when I fall
You know all my ways
In Your love, I know You allow
What I cannot grasp
To bring You praise
Thank You for the trials
For the fire, for the pain
Thank You for the strength
Knowing You have ordained
Your great power is shown when I’m weak
You help me to see
Your love in this place
Perfect peace is filling my mind
And drawing my heart
To praise You again
In my uncertainty, Your Word is all I need
To know You’re with me every day
The first time I really listened to the words I thought to myself “that is not my heart at all!” I could not fathom how I could honestly thank God for this trial of miscarriage and subsequent infertility. I didn’t understand how it could be used for good in my life. Even though the lyrics seemed so true and right to me, I thought that my trial surely could not fit this category.
And then something amazing happened. Walking through another April 2nd, and another year of waiting, did something to my heart. I don’t know when it changed, but now I can honestly say to the Lord, “thank you for this trial, not because I like it, and not because it is good to be unable to conceive, but because through this trial I have seen your glory and your goodness in ways I never would have seen before.” Now it took nearly two years to get to this point, but I think this is what Paul is talking about in Romans 5:3-5 when he says that we “rejoice in our sufferings.” Not because they are pleasant. Not because they are easy or fun. But because it is through our suffering that trust is born, that hope is forged, that our eyes our opened to seeing God for who he is. I would not lean on the Savior in such desperate dependence if I had never faced this trial—and I know this is not the last trial I will ever face. I would not long for heaven and unending fellowship with the Savior if I had gotten everything I prayed for these last couple of years. Do I cry more now? Yes. Does life seem more serious now? Yes. Do I wish it all could have come another way? Absolutely. But do I also have more hope and joy in the Savior because of what he has done in my life? Yes, and as Romans says this will never put me to shame.
I’m sure that there will be a lot of other moments where I am not as thankful for the trial of infertility as I am right now, but I want to savor this moment and use it to prepare for the hard ones to come. If you are facing a trial today, dear Christian, and you (like I did for so long) find it difficult to be thankful or see God’s hand in it, remember this. The very fact that you struggle to remain faithful is evidence of God’s kind working in your life. Just hold on. The Christian life is not about microwavable results. It’s a slow process that often takes time, tears, and patience. God has promised to work all things together for good in our life (Romans 8:28), and while sometimes we don’t see that good for many years, you can trust that he is working a thousand merciful details behind the curtain of your pain, and one day it will be visible to you.
So if you cannot thank God for the trial today, keep plodding—even if it is a tear-stained plodding. And when you feel like you cannot hold on any longer, you can trust that our gracious God is holding on to you. And he will never let you go.