Suffering

The Sovereignty of God in the Loss of a Child

“For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen.” (Romans 11:36)

A few hours before my sonogram, I had spoken at my Bible study about how we can trust God no matter what happens to us. Everything that comes to us has already passed through His hands, and it’s all for His glory. It was a fantastic discussion about God’s sovereignty in our book of Romans study that day. The women in the group were excited for me to find out the gender of my baby that afternoon and they all wanted updates. The waiting room at the doctor’s office was testing my patience; we couldn’t wait to find out that we were surely having a girl and we could use our girl name. We didn’t have a boy name yet.

“I’m sorry...” We found out our baby had passed away some time the day before and I had no idea. Suddenly I was plunged into the shock and fumbling darkness that only sudden tragedy can bring upon someone. Upon delivery the next day, we saw he was a boy. Our third little boy. We didn’t have a name for a boy, and we were too overwhelmed to think of one. We decided God already knew his name and was calling it even now. One day we—his parents—would see him and learn his name too. We named him Baby Boy, held him, and let him go.

It was a darkness I would stumble through for many months—the deep dark valley of the shadow of death. Recovering from childbirth with empty arms. Crying out to the Lord to help me. Help me understand. Help me see. Help me get through to the other side. Repenting of jealousy, repenting of doubting His goodness, numbly reading my Bible, days of silence before God. He never left my side.

A few months later finishing my Bible study, while still very raw, I was able to stand up and say that “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever.” I believe it so deeply now. I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death, and I have come out the other side with my arms full of spiritual riches. God was taking me down this sanctifying path to give me something greater than I could have ever imagined: a closeness to the Father, a conformity to the Son, and the comfort of the Spirit. Because “even the darkness is not dark to You; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with You” (Psalm 139:12). There is no depth, nowhere to be found, where God cannot carry you with supreme guidance. Not only did God ordain this, it was to be for my good. He loved me enough to not let me stay where I was. Tragedy doesn’t come to us because God doesn’t love us. This happened to me because God loves me and desires my holiness. This suffering was and still is great, but not greater than the glory that is to come. And so as I approach the one year anniversary of my loss, I do not say lightly, “To Him be the glory forever. Amen.”

Suffering and Psalm 63

If you are suffering today, or this week, or this year, and you haven’t spent time in Psalm 63 recently, I encourage you to do it! David’s words are refreshingly realistic and filled with hope and God-centered joy in the midst of dryness and weariness. On the Desiring God website, staff writer Marshall Segal has written a helpful meditation upon this psalm entitled, “The Joy We Know Only in Suffering.” Make use of it as you walk through the wildernesses. God is present even there, and our longing for Him demonstrates how satisfying He is.

Thanks to ruling elder Adam Adcock for recommending this article.