Within a week there have been two infant deaths in my world. One unsaved woman delivered a still born at eight months. Another woman, a strong believer, was carrying triplets, and one baby died. In the process, all three babies were delivered by C-section. The two surviving babies are in critical condition.
And often the first question is, “How could something like this happen?” More piercing questions sound like, “How could GOD let something like this happen?”
Really gut-wrenching, honest questions sound like, “How can this be good in any way?”
If we are not careful, these are the horrible moments when we throw around spiritual band-aids because we don’t know what to say:
“At least you have another child.”
“At least you didn’t have to fill-in-the-blank…”
“God must be teaching you something…”
“God works all things together…”
If we are not careful, because we are so uncomfortable with pain, agony, and despair, we will make all manner of attempts to fix, tidy, gloss over, and cover the gaping hole in those broken hearts.
And if we are not careful, we will miss the aroma of Christ. I told my friend who is truly broken-hearted over our friend’s loss, “God is good, and He is here.” He is right here. In the middle of this mystery. And misery. He knows exactly how it feels to lose a child.
The Bible says to mourn with those who mourn. And to trust that God is doing the same. I remember delivering Judah when we found out he had died at 16 weeks. He was so small, he fit in our hand. To some it seemed odd because he was so little. But he was our son, is our son.
Sure we got a gamut of responses — the gossip, the “glad it didn’t happen to me”, the “you can always have another baby”, even the God comments that cut like knives rather than soothe like a balm. But the sweetest gifts I received during that time were friends and family who would simply weep with us. That’s all. It hurt and that was okay.
The help and healing came from those who had nothing to offer but their tears. These precious few didn’t come to my bedside needing me to make them feel better, needing me to explain anything or defend God. They just came to journey with me and pray for me, when I was too weak to pray myself. My friend Nan says, “When you grieve together the love goes deeper still.”
Oddly enough, yesterday, the same day we heard about the death of the triplet, my sweet friend Amanda gave birth to her baby boy. And so we live. Life and death side by side. And somehow we are comforted because we stake our whole existence on one belief: God is good and He is here.