When grief takes hold
Behind the song ‘Life Goes On’.
Last year I had my tenth miscarriage.
I find it strange that with each pregnancy hope for a second child would be reborn with renewed optimism. Excuses would be found for previous miscarriages that would make this pregnancy different. And then, as things started going wrong, I grew familiar with the pattern: shock and disbelief, a strong but all too brief sense of unreality, followed by anger… in my case, anger very clearly directed at God for allowing my hopes to be raised and then summarily dashed again; anger at wasted time, wasted hope, wasted plans. A deep sense of betrayal.
Followed by defeat.
And finally, the questions… questions that would linger on and rock the very foundation of my faith.
In the midst of my last storm, my Lord made something clear to me. He showed me the disciples, among a great crowd following Christ to Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, waving palm fronds and singing. Christ was their great hope, he was going to save the Jews from the oppression of the Romans, he came with wisdom, kindness and miracles and he turned life on its head.
But then, in the space of twenty-four hours, their great hope was betrayed, humiliated and sentenced to death by crucifixion.
Christ’s followers must have been waiting for him to do something to save himself, but he did nothing. They’d seen amazing miracles, and they’d witnessed extraordinary eloquence, but, in his own defence he did and said absolutely nothing.
I bet they continued to wait for a miracle right until the last moment on the cross when he gave up his spirit.
Then there must have been shock and disbelief, followed by anger and probably a palpable sense of betrayal. On that Friday, all they felt they were left with was a broken body.
And then came defeat.
What God was showing me was that, whereas we know exactly why Christ suffered death, was buried and rose again – we get it, it is the very centre of everything we learn about Him – the disciples had none of this prior knowledge. They had very little clue as to what the greater plan was. Each stage had to be experienced in full Technicolor and could only be reviewed with the benefit of hindsight later.
But God knew the plan; in his hands a great miracle was being done.
In the midst of each of our personal tragedies, we will all suffer shock and disbelief, anger and finally defeat. But God wants to be with us to help us through the pain and to ease the burden.
And we can know, that in the depths of our pain … someone has been there before.