“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3.
“Nothing in life can prepare us for the death of a loved one. Whether death results from a sudden accident or a sustained illness, it always catches us off-guard. Death is so deeply personal and stunningly final, nothing can emotionally prepare us for its arrival. With every death, there is a loss. And with every loss, there will be grief.” Author unknown.
Why did this happen? Who’s responsible? Where is God when I hurt? Have you ever asked those questions, or variations of the same? Sometimes the answers are forthcoming. Sometimes you are overwhelmed with the deafening sound of silence.
Why did this happen? In doing research about my granddaughter’s stillborn birth, I discovered that it is very uncommon for a baby to die in late pregnancy these days because women are healthier and good prenatal care is available. However, unfortunately some babies do die, sometimes without warning and despite women doing all the right things.
Some babies die in the uterus (womb) before they are born (called an intra-uterine fetal death). It can happen during the last half of pregnancy or, more rarely, during the labour and birth, when it is known as intrapartum death. When the baby who has died during labour and birth is born, this is called a stillbirth.
Who’s responsible? As these weeks have unfolded, my daughter’s doctor informed her and my son-in-law of the likely reason for their daughter’s, my granddaughter’s, heart stoppage. Blood clots in the placenta probably restricted blood flow to the baby causing her tiny heart to eventually stop beating. The physician is unsure why this occurred since everything prior to Emberlynn’s death indicated a healthy pregnancy. He emphasized to my daughter Elizabeth that she had done everything right and was not to blame.
Where is God? Jerry Bridges, in his book Trusting God Even When Life Hurts, writes, “Obeying God makes sense to us. In most cases, His laws appear reasonable and wise, and even when we don’t want to obey them, we usually concede that they are good for us. But the circumstances we find ourselves in often defy explanation. When unexpected situations arise that appear unjust, irrational, or even dreadful, we feel confused and frustrated. And before long, we begin to doubt God’s concern for us or His control over our lives. Adversity is hard to endure and can even be harder to understand. If God were really in control, why would He allow the tragic auto accident or crucial job loss? How could He permit cancer in a loved one or the death of a child? Grappling with His concern for us we ask, “Why is God allowing this?” or “What have I done wrong?”
In exploring these questions, Bridges, and I, conclude that God remains where He always is: on His throne and in sovereign control of everything which happens in our lives. Believers in Christ can rest on the promise of Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Nowhere in the Scriptures does God tell us that we will understand everything which happens in our lives. No such promise is found in the Bible. However, what we are commanded to do is to trust in the Lord.
This was Solomon’s instruction to his son in Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
This is also the thematic verse from the Book of Habakkuk. In Habakkuk 2:4, the prophet writes, “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.”
Believers in Christ may trust in the LORD because He is trustworthy. I encourage you to meditate upon these verses.
Psalm 33:4 – “For the word of the LORD is upright, and all His work is done in faithfulness.”
Psalm 18:30 – “As for God, His way is blameless; the word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”
Psalm 145:13 – “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.”
Psalm 19:7 – “The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.”
Psalm 111:7 – “The works of His hands are truth and justice; All His precepts are sure.”
As I am writing these words, I am gripped by a profound sense of sadness. Sadness caused by the void left in the my, and my family’s life, by an unborn girl’s death. There is also a grief in knowing that others have experienced this same sadness. However, this grief is temporary and will give way to everlasting joy and peace.
May the Lord’s truth and grace be found here.
Soli deo Glora!