The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 18:2).
“God is God and we are not.” This is one of our Holloway Family Slogans. Sometimes we just do not know why the Lord allows certain hardships to happen in our lives. We do know however that hardships, trials, and suffering produce greater reliance on God and often times they drive us to experience His mercies in new ways. Coming off of our third miscarriage I can say that we have experienced the love and compassion of the Lord in greater ways than we would have had we not experienced these great tragedies. Going through losses such as these are hard – really hard. How has the Lord show His love, mercy, compassion, and faithfulness in these difficult trials?
1. He refines our faith – It’s easy to say that we love the Lord and trust in His goodness when everything is “going well” but it is another thing to actually have to demonstrate that you love Him and trust in His goodness when things are hard. Here is another family slogan we have that speaks to this, “Faith is believing in the Word of God and acting on it, no matter how I feel, knowing that it promises a good result.” Knowing our faith has been sustained through difficult circumstances in the past gives confidence that the Lord will sustain us and show himself to be our comfort and joy through future trials.
2. He makes us more like Him – Through our miscarriages God has shown Betsy and me great compassion in our time in the Word, in prayer together, in our comforting one another, and through the love of his people. This has made Betsy and me much more compassionate (not one of our strongest characteristics in the past) to others who not only experience the difficulty of losing a baby but experience difficulty in other ways. Going through hard trials has made us more sensitive to others who are going through difficult times and more aware of how to best encourage and comfort them.
We have also learned the art of being careful how to word condolences having been on the end of words that were meant well but not communicated well. If you have every had something tragic happen you know what I mean by that. As a result, we have learned to look past words and give grace knowing the loving intentions of the one who may have said something insensitive or awkward without knowing it. We are very thankful to learn what it means to mourn with those who mourn because there is such blessing in being the comfort of the Lord in someone else’s life.
3. God loved us personally through His people – From loving notes, simple embraces, prayers, meals, and precious brothers and sisters in Christ stopping by to talk and pray we have seen God’s concern and love for us in a personal way. It is funny how we are always looking for mystical feelings of comfort and love from the Lord and can be confounded or even angry when they do not come – especially when they don’t come right now! Yet all the while He is personally sending His people empowered with His Spirit to do His special work of love, comfort, healing and encouraging. God has something so much better than a moment a mysticism that can be fleeting – He has His people who walk with you through the trail for the long haul. He gives repeated and long-lasting assurances of his love and concern for you through the people who bear His name.
I have become more convinced than ever that we often settle/desire for far too little in our experience with God. We seek fleeting feelings when He provides redemptive, grace-filled, loving relationships through the bond of Christ and powered by His very Spirit.
So, yes, losing each of the three babies have been the greatest hardships and trials Betsy and I have ever faced and we pray we (or anyone else) never have to face it again. But in the midst of tragedy the Lord has taught us unforgettable and life-changing lessons about Himself, us, and His people. We love the Lord Jesus and long to be more like him because in His presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11).
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).