Knowing and Believing
After three and a half years of trying, waiting and hoping, it had finally happened. A positive pregnancy test. After three and a half years of trying and waiting, I wondered if my child bearing years were maybe…just…over. Only those closest to me knew how much I longed to hold another baby in my arms, how many pregnancy tests I’d taken, how discouraged I was when they all came up negative. When you have three happy, healthy children already, you don’t necessarily talk about wanting another—it almost seems selfish. So we waited. And hoped. And trusted. Then, finally, there it was: “pregnant” printed boldly across the test I’d just taken. I burst into tears. The first thing I did was offer praise to the Giver of life who’d seen fit to bless us once again. Onan and I were ecstatic. So were the kids. We told our families, our church, and our closest friends–those who knew our story, who would rejoice with us, and who would pray for this little life growing inside of me. As is our custom, my husband and I immediately began to argue about baby names (thank goodness for veto power!). We discussed fun and creative ways to “Facebook announce” the pregnancy. And we could not stop dreaming about the new little one who would join us in the spring.
But at the first sonogram, when I should have been almost eight weeks along, the screen showed that I was only measuring just past six, and when I asked the technician about a heartbeat, she said, “If there is one, I’m not able to detect it.” Still, my doctors were cautiously optimistic. “Your hCG levels are high,” they told me, “maybe your dates are wrong? Let’s do another sonogram in a week to see where you are.” I doubted my dates were wrong. When you are waiting and hoping for a baby, you keep careful track. But I held tight to a scrap of hope, knowing that dates can be wrong and that God can do anything. We assembled our prayer warriors, and pray, they did—every day with us for that week of waiting.
But at the next sonogram, the screen showed the exact same picture it had the week before. No growth. No heartbeat. This time my doctors said “Miscarriage.”
I had felt mentally prepared for this outcome. I know the statistics. More importantly, I know women—many, many godly, precious women—who have endured miscarriages. Why should I be spared? I know Romans 8:28—I shout it out to anyone who will listen! I’ve lived it. I know people who are living it right now, suffering unfathomable loss. And I had wanted to trust no matter what. I wanted to say with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that my God is able to deliver me from fiery furnaces, but even if he does not, I will still trust him. I wanted to say with Job, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.” I wanted to sing that the Lord gives and takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord. I know God is good. I know that he is sovereign. I know it.
But in bed that night after the second sonogram that confirmed my baby had died, I struggled to believe it. As I cried angry, bitter tears, I asked God what kind of cruel joke miscarriage is. I told him that this baby was supposed to be my rainbow baby. I asked him why taking one of my children couldn’t have been enough.
When Job questioned God, he got a whirlwind and three chapters of questions fired back at him by The Great I Am. But do you know what he did for me? As I laid there, broken and weeping, I told God what I know is true about him, and I begged him to help me believe it. I prayed for him to shift my focus. Shift. My. Focus. As soon as I uttered those words, do you know where he took me? He took me to the cross. And I saw Jesus, hanging there, bloodied and broken, as clearly as if I had been standing beneath the cross on the day he died. I saw him, and the weight of what he was doing, and why he was doing it, took my very breath away. Talk about a shift of focus! In the most loving and gracious way possible, God answered my prayer. And in an instant, I remembered. I remembered that God loves me in ways that I cannot even begin to understand. I remembered that he is the kind of God who sacrifices everything for his people. Of course he is good. Of course he will work all things together for my good. He is a God who knows suffering, One who has suffered. He is a God who cares for his children, who walks with them through the valley. I can trust him because he’s already proven that he is trustworthy. I can rest in him because he has already given me everything that I need.
We are back to waiting. I have no idea when, how or even if God will grow our family in the future. I am sure that I will need to ask him to shift my focus again and again over the next few days and weeks and months. Unbelief is the root of all my sin, after all. I don’t know why he’s chosen to take another one of our children. But I can shout from the rooftops that he is good, and that I trust him.