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Category: 2 Corinthians

Miscarriage: A Testimony of God’s Grace

Prior to having our first child, my wife and I experienced two miscarriages. What follows below is the content of an email that I sent to everyone on our contacts list (including family, friends and co-workers) to inform them of the second miscarriage. This letter was originally sent in August 2001 and is included below in it’s entirety and in the original format. I share it here in the hopes that it might edify and encourage others. And I give thanks to God that since the time I wrote this letter, we have been blessed beyond measure with three wonderful children.

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“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair” 2 Corinthians 4:8

This is the verse that came to me this morning as I contemplated Jenny’s second miscarriage. Probably because at the time this verse popped in my head, I was talking to God about how even though at the present time I don’t understand how He can bring good out of this situation, I still trust Him. I tell Jenny there is almost an excitement associated with the confident expectation that God is going to do something out of this situation. I remember a verse that we helped our Sunday school students memorize a couple months ago: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” I pray that God will grant me the vision to maintain an eternal perspective throughout this situation and thank Him that regardless of my circumstances, my joy remains complete in Him. This is the great joy I’ve experienced as a Christian. In the midst of an unstable world that is constantly changing, my hope is firmly anchored in something that is stable and unchangeable: Jesus Christ.

When we experienced the first miscarriage in February, it provided for a really rich time of seeking the Lord and coming to a clearer understanding of my faith and reliance on Him. It was amazing how He stood by us and was glorified through the situation. It served as an opportunity to share with people around us how it was only through Christ’s strength that we were able to persevere and how His will for our lives is perfect. Jeremiah 33:3 and Ephesians 3:20 tell us that the Lord is able to bless us with things far greater than we could ever dream of. Rather than it being a time to focus on what we didn’t have, we were humbled and grateful for what He’s done for us and for the promises in His word of what He will do for us.

This second time around, it seemed as though Satan was really up to his old tricks. When we found out that Jenny was pregnant, he immediately tried to initiate doubts and fears in us. Through prayer, he was silenced and the shield of faith extinguished the flaming arrows of the evil one. We prayed together every morning and night, recognizing God for who He is and thanking Him for His work in our lives. The primary theme of our prayers was always that His will be done. I was at complete ease and faithful that God was in control. I even expressed this confidence to my home fellowship group on Tuesday night. I shared with them that I sensed something was going to happen that would allow God to be glorified through my life. Something that would provide context for people within my circle of influence to gain a better understanding of who He is, what He’s done in my life, and what He desires from them. The next night, as Jenny’s cramping and bleeding started, I was blown away that the situation the Lord could use would be another miscarriage.

It may be stretching it a bit to classify what we’ve experienced as suffering, but there is certainly a loss we feel for a child that Jenny has carried in her body and her heart but never in her arms. Saturday evening we sat around the table after having dinner together and we were talking and praying. I mentioned to Jenny that this child that we had been praying for since her positive pregnancy test on June 26th, was going to be someone that we would pray for every day for the rest of our lives. It was amazing to me that God had blessed us to witness his amazing creative powers first-hand and that he was etching a permanent entry on our prayer list. Now I’m faced with figuring out how I pray for a child that was born, not in to this world, but straight to the other side to live with my Heavenly Father.

One thing is sure. As we suffer, our testimony of the grace of God becomes more powerful. Yes, the reminders of this baby are all around us; prenatal vitamins, parenting books, and cards and notes congratulating us. However, more powerful are the reminders that we have a loving God that created us, redeemed us, and desires fellowship with us. We praise Him because of who He is and because He is worthy. Even though God loves us and desires the best for us, I think He is more interested in the strength of our faith and devotion to Him as opposed to our happiness. Happiness is based on circumstances while our joy is based on Him. Although we grieve, we grieve with hope. “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:24-25

I hope being informed of this news in this format does not seem impersonal. I’ve always enjoyed writing and it’s proven to be an effective method for me to acknowledge my feelings. I’ve decided that what started out as a half hour exercise of pouring out my heart for my own benefit has turned out to be a practical means to inform everyone that our prayers have been answered, at least partially. We now know that it is not God’s will for us to have a child yet. We just don’t know what tremendous blessing He has for us in its place. And maybe that blessing is that others can hear of how the grace of God is at work within our lives. I encourage everyone that reads this to never doubt in the dark what God tells us in the light. God bless you all and thank you for your faithfulness in prayer.

Would we know that the major chords were sweet,
If there were no minor key?
Would the painter’s work be fair to our eyes,
Without shade on land or sea?
Would we know the meaning of happiness,
Would we feel that the day was bright,
If we’d never known what it was to grieve,
Nor gazed on the dark of night?

A better servant of Christ – His strength revealed through our weakness

Strengths And Weaknesses

There are many people who are relatively wise (according to the world’s standards) who have aligned themselves to, and follow, “successful” pastors and Christian leaders. They follow these men and women because of the “fruit” that they see in their lives and ministries. Fruit that includes things like large congregations, state-of-the-art church buildings, popular podcasts, New York Times bestselling books, stylish wardrobes, etc…

 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one… – 2 Corinthians 11:23a

In 2 Corinthians, Paul “boasts” about the credentials and evidence that he is actually a better servant of Christ than the “rock star” pastors who were duping the Corinthian church at that time. Except the things that Paul boasts in are really his weaknesses. They are the trouble and afflictions he has endured as a result of faithfully proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. Things like being beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, robbed, hungry, thirsty, and in constant danger.

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness – 2 Corinthians 11:30

Paul was not interested in hyping his pedigree. He wasn’t interested in telling you the square footage of his church building or keeping a log of how many people he had lead to Christ. He wasn’t interested in being affirmed or respected by men. He was jealous for the glory of God and was passionate about ensuring that the church – the bride of Christ – was healthy and cared for and not neglected.

Why would Paul boast in his weaknesses? Why would he boast in things that others might qualify as failures? Because in our weakness is where Christ’s strength is magnified. It is in light of our failures where the victory of Christ stands in stark contrast.

If it is used as an opportunity for me to develop a greater degree of faith, hope, and trust in the Lord then may I glory in my suffering and weakness. And in so doing, may the glory of Christ be more fully manifested and put on display for all to see.

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