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First Thoughts

Miscarriage and Mercy

A Dark Day

“Oh, my! It looks like you are having twins.”

These were the first words the doctor spoke to us at my wife Kate’s routine ten-week ultrasound.

The news was surprising and wonderful. God had given us not one beautiful child created in his image but two.

“Hang on,” the doctor said only a few seconds later. “One of them doesn’t have a heartbeat.”

We walked out of our doctor’s office that day bearing the weight of a reality that was unthinkable when we walked in. One of the beautiful and precious twins that had lived in Kate’s womb for a few short weeks was now dead. We wouldn’t get to squeeze his cheeks, tickle his belly, or watch him grow up. He was gone. We named him Samuel.

It was a Tuesday. And it was the darkest day of our life.

As we got into our car to drive back home, the darkness of miscarriage descended on us like a thick fog. And yet, even as we sat in our car weeping, the light of God’s mercy began to pierce through that dark fog.

In this post, I want to share four ways that the light of God’s mercy met us in the darkness of miscarriage.

1. The Mercy of God’s Presence

 As we sat in our car outside the doctor’s office, we felt alone. No one else besides our doctor knew about the miscarriage. We were bearing the burden of this terrible news all on our own.

But in the lonely darkness of miscarriage, God met us with the bright mercy of his presence. As we sat in our car and wept with broken hearts, God was faithful to his Word: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18). On the day of our trouble, God proved himself to be a very present help (Psalm 46:1).

Moreover, God’s presence brought the comfort of sympathy. Our doctor didn’t understand. She responded to the miscarriage by making a glib joke about “dodging a bullet.” But Jesus understood. Jesus is a “man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3). This meant that the one present with us in our pain was also the one who could understand our pain more than anyone else.

In the darkness of miscarriage, God meets you with the merciful light of his presence.

2. The Mercy of God’s Promises

 What hurts the most about miscarriage is the loss of promise. It crushes all the hopes and dreams you had for your child. All that remains is the sharp pain of knowing none of it will happen. This hopelessness overtook us even as we drove home from the doctor’s office.

But God met us with the mercy of his promises, and through those promises, he gave us hope.

He gave us hope in his faithfulness. It didn’t matter how dark or painful the road ahead of us was. We knew that God would be with us (Hebrews 13:5) and would never let anything separate us from his love (Romans 8:39).

He gave us the hope of purpose. We didn’t know why God decided to take Samuel away only a few short weeks into his life. We lamented and even dared to ask God why he would allow such suffering into our lives. But we knew God was in control. We knew he loved us. And we knew that he would bring good out of this terrible reality (Romans 8:28).

He gave us the hope of heaven. Though we were experiencing the acute pangs of suffering and death, we knew a day was coming when God himself would wipe all our tears away (Revelation 21:4). We knew a day was coming when we would be reunited with Samuel and see his face for the very first time in resurrection glory (1 Corinthians 15:50-58).

Into the darkness of miscarriage, the promises of God shine the light of present and future hope.

3. The Mercy of God’s People

We were tempted to stay in the darkness of miscarriage. The prospect of sharing this news with others and letting them in on our pain was daunting.

But God answers the weakness and vulnerability that miscarriage brings with the support and love of his people. And that is exactly what he did for us.

As we shared our burden with members of our church family, God used them as a source of encouragement and care. Friends checked in on us and brought us meals. Other women in our church who had experienced miscarriage reached out to Kate and told her their stories. Countless people prayed for us. They bore our burden (Galatians 6:2). This encouraged us and made us thankful in a way we didn’t even think was possible amid the grief we were experiencing.

The light of Christlike love and care and service from God’s people pierces into the darkness of miscarriage.

4. The Mercy of God’s Preservation

 The pain of miscarriage morphs. At first, it is like the sharp pain of an open flesh wound. But over time, the pain dulls and becomes more like scar tissue. You carry it around with you always, but the aches come in occasional waves.

Kate and I face these aches in a very unique way. Samuel’s identical twin brother Teddy is now two. His life is a testimony to the mercy of God to not only take a son from us but also to give us one. But his life is also a reminder of our loss. Every milestone we pass with Teddy – his first step, his first word, etc. – is a milestone we didn’t get to pass with Samuel. As the milestones stack up, so does the sense of loss.

But the mercy of God isn’t a one-and-done kind of mercy. It is new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-24). And that means that each permutation of pain is met with a fresh dose of God’s preserving mercy. Our faith remains steadfast and steady today because his mercy met us again this morning.

The light of God’s mercy has shone into the darkness of miscarriage from the moment we began to weep in our car to this very moment as we continue to deal with the aches and pangs of loss. And we are confident that his mercy will continue to preserve us until the end.

A Darker Day

The Tuesday we found out about the miscarriage was a dark day. But an even darker day preceded it. That day was the darkest day in all of human history. It was the day that Jesus Christ, the Author of Life himself, was nailed to a cross and died.

But even the darkness of Jesus’ death could not blot out the light of God’s mercy. Rather, from the darkness of Jesus’ death burst forth the radiant light of his resurrection. And now, because Jesus lives, all the brilliant rays of God’s mercy shine into the life of everyone who places their faith in him. Because Jesus Christ subjected himself to the darkest day in history, you can find hope in the mercy of God on the darkest day of your life.

Andrew Morrell is the Nocatee Campus Pastor of Discipleship at First Baptist Church Jacksonville. Andrew is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

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