I have debated for a while in my mind whether or not to write and share this particular post. For one thing, I want my blog to be characterized by its positivity and ability to be uplifting even when dealing with difficult subjects. In addition to that, I really hesitate to share things that are extremely personal about my life. My social media feeds are largely filled with posts promoting events that are going on in our local congregation or bragging about the conquests of my favorite sports teams.
Still, it is cathartic for writers to write, particularly about issues that are weighing heavily on them. Besides that, I have seen the courage of many others concerning personal struggles, and it makes me feel somewhat cowardly to have thoughts and opinions that could be helpful to others and just keep them to myself.
On Christmas Eve 2014 my wife had a miscarriage. That statement sounds pretty normal, but I can assure you that day was anything but. For one thing, she was 17 weeks pregnant with our little girl, Layla, and we were bursting at the seams with excitement for the birth of our first child. Unfortunately, that birth came all too early and we spent the day going through everything that is involved in the labor process knowing there would be no joy at the end.
We were allowed to go home Christmas Day to a house that looked from the outside to be ready for a memorable holiday. Presents were wrapped under the tree, and our families were scheduled to join us for food and fun. For me, though, that house was the last place in the world I wanted to be. Most of the presents under the tree were in preparation for the arrival of our daughter just a few months down the road. After the gender reveal just a week or so earlier, I had gone a little crazy buying things in pink to give to my amazing wife on Christmas. Every one of those boxes made me sick to my stomach, and that Christmas season was just plain miserable. In fact, Christmas 2015 wasn’t a whole lot better as we dwelled on how awful the previous year had been.
After consulting with our doctors we discovered that the miscarriage had been caused by something that was “fixable” for lack of a better word, so we were given the go ahead to try again in a few months. February 2016 brought new excitement and another pregnancy to our lives. In fact, we were snowed in on the day that we found out, and we looked forward to sharing that story one day with our little one.
A few weeks later we shared the news with our families and then our church family, but stopped short of making the “official” announcement on social media. Just a few days later our worst fears were realized again. After some complications, we visited our doctor and found out that we had miscarried…again.
I realize that miscarriage is a pretty common occurrence, but it is one of the most painful feelings in the world. The joy that is in your heart is ripped out in a moment, and you are left with a bitter, empty feeling.
Over the last month or so I have been constantly thinking of Abraham. At the age of 30, I feel like I have been waiting on a child for a long time. I can’t imagine waiting another seventy years like Abraham did. Then, as Isaac was a small child, God came to Abraham and asked him to do the unthinkable.
“Take your son, your only son—yes, Isaac, whom you love so much—and go to the land of Moriah. Go and sacrifice him as a burnt offering on one of the mountains, which I will show you.”
I can only try to comprehend the emotions of Abraham following God’s request. Outrage, sorrow, confusion, abandonment…why would God ask this?! Yet, verse 3 simply says that he got up the next morning and began making preparations for the journey. We know the rest of the story. In the moments before Abraham sacrificed Isaac, an angel told him to stop and God provided a ram to be sacrificed in his place. The moral of the story is this – if we are obedient to him, God is always faithful to us.
It’s easy for us to say that we believe God is in control. I have heard countless people make blanket statements like “everything happens for a reason” or “God has a plan.” While these are well-intentioned phrases, by themselves they are meaningless.
Trusting God is about the way we live – not just the words we use!
Notice this statement about Abraham from James 2:21-24:
“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”
I will never have the faith of Abraham. However, if I truly believe the promises that the creator of the world has made to me, I have to strive to follow him wherever he leads me. I ask for your prayers for my family as we await the day where disappointment ends and we can hold a healthy child in our arms. Until then, even down dark paths, I hope we can all strive to have a faith like Abraham and be called friends of God!