The Steadfast in the Unexpected: How God Met Us in Our Grief and Showed Us the Heart of the Gospel

Life is so full of changes. That’s mostly what inspired the title of this post and ultimately this blog. Life is so fleeting. We go from moment to moment, always changing, always being changed. 

This is who I am right now. This is where I am right now. This is what I’m doing, where I’m going, who I’m with, what’s happening around me. And then in the blink of an eye it’s all different. I’ve grown. I’ve learned. I’m a different person than I was however many months ago. I’ve made a new friend. I’ve started a new hobby/job/ministry. Life threw me this curve ball. 

But through it all there is a source so steadfast, so unchanging, it would be foolishness not to lean upon that. And yet that source, that person of Jesus Christ, is actually the one who works transformation into our very being, shaping us into something new.

I have certainly not been exempt to change in the last three years. I returned home from South Sudan. I planned a wedding in two months (talk about whirlwind). I got married to a man who still fills my dreams and my heart with love. Through marriage God has taught me more about how sacrifice truly is at the heart of love. That has not always been an easy lesson. But, it has been 100% worth it. To see the heart of God revealed in us is something I would never trade for anything. 

And then that curve ball came. We had a surprise. A surprise we hoped to share with the world. A happy surprise. Then it turned into something quite sad and very difficult. You see, we found out we were pregnant. But then, we found out we were going to lose it. And we did. Somehow, though, in the short span of the life of our child, and the process that seemed so long from our perspective, we have learned that perhaps through all of this there is still something we hope to share with the world. 

Through this process I have watched myself go from great joy to great sorrow. Then, that sorrow-which is still present in many ways-created hope. And from that hope has sprung purpose, because God does not waste our suffering. And that purpose, the purpose of my whole life and that of our child, is to reflect Christ.

I had wanted to write to some of my friends from South Sudan, telling them about this difficulty that my husband and I were walking through, to update them on our lives and to have their prayers. Not long after I thought about writing them, however, I thought, “I can’t tell them I had a miscarriage. Many people there believe that happens because a woman or man was unfaithful! What if that damages my testimony or the work that I did while I was there?” Then, in His not-so-subtle way, it was as if God said to me, “That’s precisely why you have to tell them! So they can know the truth!” If it comes from my own experience, how much more impact can that have than just another foreigner saying “No, this is the reason why.” (Not to make little of the work of colleagues and the many other missionaries living out the gospel through their lives). 

(Side note: Before you think, “How could a culture believe something like that,” and condemn them for it, remember that there are a large number of people in the West that believe a developing baby inside the womb is not actually a person yet. Culture and worldview are powerful forces in shaping what we believe)

So what I told them is this: I have not in the least way been unfaithful to my husband or to my God. During this suffering I am reminded that this happened as a result of living in a world that has been affected by sin, and is in fact in its snares. So, sometimes things don’t work like they are suppose to. Sometimes babies don’t develop properly and the mother will have a miscarriage. Sometimes someone gets cancer, and their bodies or even treatment cannot overcome it. Sometimes diseases or accidents happen and leave people crippled. This world is broken. And that brokenness reaches the lost and the found. It affects those who curse God and those who believe in him with all their heart. 

I am reminded that the reason that brokenness still reaches all of us is because of God’s patient love. If he stepped in to stop all the suffering, Christ would be coming back and ushering in his Kingdom fully to make everything how it should be: restored. But if he did that now, there would be so many who would face judgement without knowing the name of Jesus, let alone believing in him. It is His love that drives him to wait. It is His love that urges us, now, in light of his patience, to go out with the message of the gospel! How do we continue to get so caught up in our own lives and our own suffering that we forget there are people dying every day without Christ in their hearts? How do we forget them? The cost is so high!

What I am reminded of most is the urgency of the gospel. And that has become the desire of my heart. To share the gospel. Because it is needed. Because in it is life. 

The gospel has become my comfort. It has become my hope. It has become my peace and my strength. It has become my everything. Never have I felt God so near. He is showing me his heart. For He, too, watched his son die and be buried in a tomb. 

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