By Paul Tautges
[The Lord has recently brought to mind a letter I had written to my congregation at the end of 2006, three days after my wife and I experienced miscarriage. A recent post, 7 Reasons to Remember an Unborn Life, made me think of this letter and its possible value to you personally or in your one-another ministry. I post it below as originally written.]
On Christmas Day, my wife miscarried our ninth child. On a day when birth is the focus of all our celebrating we were forced to think of death. As a pastor and biblical counselor, how do I counsel people who are suffering loss through miscarriage? For that matter, how do I counsel my wife and myself when our minds are tempted to be clouded by a flurry of thoughts and our undependable emotions seem to be in a constant state of fluctuation?
The answer is to counsel as I would in the case of any form of suffering—by fighting off wrong, self-glorifying thinking with basic, foundational, God-glorifying truths that never change. In other words, in the midst of a storm we must choose to anchor our minds to bedrock truth, which provides the stability that is lacking in the midst of uncertainty. In the case of miscarriage, these rock-solid truths include:
- God is sovereign: Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps. 1 Timothy 6:15 He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.
- God is the Creator: Exodus 20:11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Isaiah 45:12 [God says] “It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands.”
- God, the Creator, wisely and sovereignly knits babies in the womb: Psalm 139:13-14 For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Thy works, and my soul knows it very well.
- God, the Creator, sovereignly knits babies according to His plan for them: Psalm 139:15-16 My frame was not hidden from Thee, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth. Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.
- God, the Creator, gives life and takes it away: Job 1:21-22 “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.” Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.
- God, the Creator, does not get tired: Isaiah 40:28 Do you not know? Have you not heard?The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable.
- THEREFORE, those who wait on Him will gain new strength: Isaiah 40:31 Yet those who wait for the LORD will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.
- AND God’s grace will be sufficient for our every weakness which turns loose the power of Christ on our behalf: 2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
- AND whatever God brings into our lives is for our ultimate good and the furtherance of His good purposes and glory: Romans 8:28-30 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
- THEREFORE, we may glory in our tribulations, knowing they will be used by God to fulfill His good plan for us—to help us grow in Christlikeness and experience the depth of His love in a fresh way: Romans 5:3-5 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Anchored to truth by His grace, Paul
Dr. Paul Tautges serves as pastor of Immanuel Bible Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and has authored the books Counsel One Another, Comfort Those Who Grieve and The Discipline of Mercy. Dr. Tautges also blogs at Counseling One Another and Biblical Counseling Coalition.