When we lose a baby, our world is turned upside-down. What we could never before conceive happening has happened to us. We feel not only deep overwhelming sadness but also a sense of craziness as reality sets in. Our baby is really gone. At some point our earthly trauma collides with our heavenly belief system. We have been able to finally “accept” the loss of our child, but we have had a difficult time moving on with our lives with hope and joy and positivity. We can give up on God and turn away from Him or we can trust that God will get us through this horrific time in our lives. Know that it is okay to question God, be angry and even argue with Him and still trust Him. Our faith is what will get us through our grieving. It is difficult, no, impossible, to heal form our child’s death without faith and hope. After my son died, I remember saying to a wise old aunt, who had lost multiple husbands, that I didn’t know how people got through this without hope. She said, “You can never heal completely without hope.”
So, let’s take a look at hope. John Calvin, a 16th century French theologian and pastor said:
“HOPE is nothing else but the constancy of faith.”
It’s easy to fall into a sobbing heap when your baby dies, and it’s acceptable to “lose it” – cry, scream, feel sorry for yourself, rant & rave, withdraw, etc. But, at some point as time passes, we must choose our path. We can fall into the “self-pity” pit or we can have faith that our God will rescue us. That hope in God is what lifts us out of the pit. All we need to do is ask.
“Keeping your focus on My Presence is the best protection against self-pity and depression. I am calling you to trust Me in deep darkness. Take one step at a time, clinging to My hand for help and guidance. I am always near you, and I know exactly how much you are struggling. Though the battle is fierce and you are weak, your resources are unlimited. My Spirit is ever ready to help you; you have only to ask.” Jesus Today #14, by Sarah Young
Developing this hope is easier said than done! All this looks good on paper, but let’s look at some practical ways to help us hold on to that hope – that “golden cord that connects us to heaven.” (from Jesus Calling)
1. Read the Psalms in the Bible. Circle the word “trust” every time you encounter it. The Psalms tell of a man named David who was a “man after God’s own heart,” who messed up and lost a child, but persevered and turned to God.
2. Read Job’s story in the Bible or in poetry form in a book by John Piper. Job loses everything and still refuses to curse God.
3. Start listing your blessings. It helps you realize how many you have.
4. Thank God for something each day. Start with something obvious – a living child, a loving spouse, a supportive friend, … You can’t curse God and thank Him at the same time.
5. Add a quiet time with God to your day. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
6. Pray for God to help you. Even when you think it’s impossible, don’t give up. Our hope is not in vain, in the Lord’s timing, help will come (NOT may come).
7. Seek help from others.
“Hope is faith holding out its hand in the darkness.” – George Isles
The helping faithful hand of others can give us hope.