I knew it would be sad. I knew it would be hard to talk about. I knew it would take some time to fully be OK again. What I didn’t see coming was the clarity our miscarriage would bring to my faith.
I am thirty-five years old. My wife is thirty-four. We have no kids and have been trying to get pregnant for about a year. We learned we were pregnant in early December and, a couple weeks later, learned that we had suffered a miscarriage. The doctors wheeled my wife through the ER in a wheel chair as I dragged behind, carrying the birth announcement cookies my wife had picked up on the way to her appointment. We had them made for our family, to surprise them at Christmas.
My wife had an ectopic pregnancy, which can be life-threatening to the mother and is impossible to carry to term. So, on top of the heartache about our little Sprout, my wife was rushed into surgery in order to preserve her own health.
Why was this happening to us? Had we done something wrong? All of the ‘advice’ of Job’s friends came rushing at me. As I said goodbye to the tiny heartbeat in my wife’s Fallopian tube, I was a whirlwind of emotions. This can’t be right.
During our infertility struggles, a lot of people prayed for us to get pregnant. We prayed “in faith” that a baby would be born. Had we done that wrong? Did we lack faith?
As we called our families and shared the terrible news, I felt as if we had failed. Our faith had failed. It was a small inkling and I knew it to be untrue, but I couldn’t explain why.
The first sermon I heard after our miscarriage was about faith. As the preacher was giving examples from the Old Testament, the picture of my faith during this harrowing time came into quicker focus.
Faith is about trusting the Lord. The examples of faith in Scripture are not about believing this or that event is going to happen. They are about trusting that God is good. Faith is the evidence of things unseen.
So much of contemporary faith is about believing in the outcomes. Faith is too often tied to evidence. So what happens when the evidence does not work out the way we believed it would. Does that show our faith lacking? Or worse, does it show The One we have faith in as inadequate?
I don’t think so. I think it shows an underdeveloped faith. Faith is not about future evidence. It is about present trust. There is a fine line between believing in the circumstances and believing in The Lord, Sovereign over all circumstances. The line is fine, but it is important. The Lord is The Lord, transcendent of circumstance.
Faith is like the dry ground the Israelites walked on across the Red Sea. The circumstances are the wind and the waves on either side of them, the Egyptians behind them. Faith is about moving forward, toward Jesus. Just like Peter getting out of the boat to walk on water. Faith is not about keeping the circumstances at bay; it is about walking toward God. Faith is not parted waters; it is the dry ground. The path into Jesus.
What happened to our little Sprout is sad. Deeply sad. I don’t understand why it happened and I don’t know what will happen next.
The experience of our miscarriage has challenged me. Is my faith circumstantial? Do I need things to work out in a way that makes sense to me? Does my faith continue when it’s fruit remains unseen, mysterious?
When my wife was in surgery, I sat alone in the middle of the night in a waiting room, unsure if I was losing them both. Certain our dreams for a family were taking a hit. These are the moments for which Scripture offers peace that passes understanding.
I believe in God. I trust Him. My hope is in Him. Whether we have seven kids or zero. Whether I get cancer or am hit by a bus or live to a hundred. Whether the Stars win the Stanley Cup or the sun refuses to shine tomorrow or nuclear war breaks out. My circumstances have no power over my faith. I will remain in trust, thankful when faith manifests its fruit. I will remain in trust, thankful even when hope is in tomorrow and the fruit of faith is unseen. Because trust, like love, is bigger than circumstances, no matter how devastating they may be.