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Thursday, February 10, 2011
Guest Blog: Loss
Parenting or the desire to do so can come with ups and downs. There are many ways a parent can experience loss. Miscarriage, death of a child, a failed adoption, lost custody of a child, losing a child through adoption or the loss of not being able to have a child. All can be heartbreaking experiences.
Guest Blog by Angie:
A year and a half ago I sat with my sister and her husband in the Emergency Room on our family vacation. At 13 weeks, my sister had just announced her pregnancy and we were filled with joy. Like my husband and I, she and her husband had tried for two years to have a child. Unlike myself, she had already had a previous miscarriage and was now experiencing increasing bleeding and cramping that would not subside. I was speaking God’s Word over her, believing that this child was protected and everything would be made right with my sister’s body. An ultrasound revealed that her child had stopped developing at eight weeks and she was indeed miscarrying again. A well-meaning nurse tried to comfort us with the words “It just wasn’t meant to be.”
“It just wasn’t meant to be”, “This is God’s way of sparing _____ from a life of deformity, sickness, evil, etc.” – those phrases and many others are offered to those who are suffering loss in an attempt to bring comfort in a season of despair. But do those phrases really reflect the heart of God? Does God create life in a woman’s womb, only to extinguish it weeks or months or years later? While the world has many answers to that question, when we look to God’s Word we find that God’s heart is that we have life and give life. In John 10:10 Jesus says “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
In Psalm 91:14-16 the Word says, “"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."
What does it mean that God will show us His salvation? The beautiful word “sozo”, which is translated “saved” or “salvation” shows us the heart of God. Most of us understand that the word “saved” means spending an eternity with God someday. But there is so much more to salvation than that, so much more meaning than the translators were able to capture in one word. “Sozo”, or “salvation” is a present reality and means to be healed physically, delivered from evil, preserved for God, and made whole.
If we are to understand God’s heart for us we need to study Jesus. In John 5:19 it says, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself, He can only do what He sees the Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”
What did Jesus do when He was on earth? Matthew 8:16-17 says, “When evening came, they brought to Him many who were under the power of demons, and he drove out the spirits with a word and restored to health all who were sick. And thus He fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He Himself took [in order to carry away] our weaknesses and infirmities and bore away our diseases.”
The passage that Jesus fulfilled is from Isaiah 53:4-5: “Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.”
Jesus died so that we could have physical health. He died so that our sin would be remembered no more and we would be declared right before God and thus able to spend this life and eternity with Him. He died so that we would not be burdened by sorrow. He died so that we could be whole.
The scripture says that we ignorantly considered Him as stricken and afflicted by God, as if God had done this. God does not bring sickness. One of His names is “Jehovah Rapha”, which means Healer. His name is what He does and how He acts. His name is His very nature. Hebrews 1:3 says of Jesus, “The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being”. We see God’s nature in the fact that Jesus healed everyone who came to Him when they came to Him.
Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-11 “What man is there of you, if his son asks him for a loaf of bread, will hand him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will hand him a serpent? If you then, evil as you are, know how to give good and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven [perfect as He is] give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him!”
Jesus would say of Himself in Luke 4:18-21, "The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
The scripture that Jesus was referencing was Isaiah 61:1-7, which beautifully describes God’s heart for us: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
If you are struggling with infertility or the loss of a child, know that it is God’s will for us to bear children and see them grow up. While we do not understand why people experience death or illness, we can trust that God feels our pain, will deliver us from it, and will restore what was lost.
If you have accepted what Jesus did for you, then you are righteous before God. 2 Corinthians 5:20b-21says, “We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].” There is no righteous woman in the Bible who asked the Lord for a child and was denied.
The Word says in Matthew 13 (the parable of the sower) that the devil will come and try to steal the Word that has been planted in you. The devil wants you to trust your experience instead of the Word of God. He will point to your experience or to the experiences of those around you and shout, “SEE! You can’t believe God for ______ because it didn’t happen this time or for this person.” The devil wants you to believe that you are an exception to the promises of God. But God’s Word says that God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11). Jesus died for your sickness (and infertility is sickness), to bind up your broken heart, to deliver you from evil, to be with you for eternity. I pray that the following verses will strengthen your faith that God’s will for you is to have life and give life.
Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground." So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.
“Worship the Lord your God, and His blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.”
Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth.
Blessed are all who fear the LORD,
who walk in his ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor;
blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your sons will be like olive shoots
around your table.
Thus is the man blessed
who fears the LORD.
May the LORD bless you from Zion
all the days of your life;
may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem,
and may you live to see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel.
The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the LORD our God,
the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look
on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust
and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes,
with the princes of their people.
He settles the barren woman in her home
as a happy mother of children.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, "He is my refuge
and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust."
Surely he will save you from the fowler's snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling--
even the LORD, who is my refuge--
then no harm will befall you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him
and show him my salvation."
“In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.”
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, "So shall your offspring be." Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead-since he was about a hundred years old-and that Sarah's womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness-for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
“But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No." For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me and Silas and Timothy, was not "Yes" and "No," but in him it has always been "Yes." For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God. Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 6:1-2
“And working together with Him, I urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain – for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, and on the day of salvation I helped you”; behold, NOW in the acceptable time, NOW is the day of salvation.”
“If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own son, but gave Him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
1 John 5:11-15
“And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.”
Angie was there for me when we went through infertility before my son was born and she was there for me for the last 8 months as I have tried to make sense of everything. Today was my due date for a pregnancy that turned out to be a complete molar pregnancy.
In honor of this, I asked my friend Angie to do this guest blog.She is a wonderfully faithful woman and I praise God that I have had the pleasure of knowing her.
(for those of you who know me personally, I would appreciate this if you did not share this with other I know unless they are experiencing a loss that this post may be able to help them with.)