On a walk this afternoon, I passed a tiny church that posts inspirational messages on a signboard outside its front door. Today, the sign read: “Expect challenges; Expect victories.” I started thinking about several couples I know who lost pregnancies just before Christmas. It’s easy to see the challenges for them – to find peace, to trust God, to let go of their dreams for those babies.
“Where is the victory?” I asked God.
I came home to find Nick’s most recent blog post in my email inbox (Nick’s wife Anna miscarried in early December). He’d written: “There are a lot of things I don’t understand, but mostly I don’t understand why I need to understand when faith is so much more liberating.”
That got me thinking….
When we first enter into a relationship with God, our faith is untested. It’s simply a “yes” to God’s invitation to receive His love and grace. Our baseline level of trust in Him determines the initial strength of the relationship.
When life unfolds according to a script we never would have chosen, our faith is tested. We struggle to understand why the God we thought we knew and believed we trusted is allowing this to happen. “Why, God? Why are you ignoring my pleas? Rejecting my prayers? Taking my story in a direction that makes no sense and brings me only grief?”
The deep desire to understand “why?!” launches us on a search for answers: Who is this God we thought we knew and understood? What is His purpose? Do we want a relationship with Him? And what is it He wants from us? We are compelled to grapple with these questions because they consume our thoughts.
Every time an infertile couple loses a pregnancy, these questions clamor for attention. Each person’s response — refusing to consider questions, answering for God rather than asking Him, or taking the questions to God and listening for His answers — determines whether this will be a season of spiritual growth, or just a season of suffering.
This is how challenges can lead to victory.
The loss of a pregnancy (and the dreams associated with it) creates a gaping chasm between Then and Now. The faith we had Then may have been sufficient for our needs in the past, but Now we need something more. We need a deeper, more intimate, more confident relationship with a God whom we can trust at all times, with all things. We need to enter into an infinitely more meaningful relationship with the God who never fails us.
He welcomes our questions, our uncertainty, our deep doubts and fears. When we bring them to Him honestly, He reveals more of His goodness and faithfulness to us. He never withholds compassion. Our hearts, so deeply wounded and desperate to receive His sustaining love, will always find it.
Deeper, stronger, tested-and-proven faith is liberating. It is the great blessing of this journey that equips us for all that is still to come. Our questions and our need to understand are a means of strengthening our faith. If there is to be victory in the challenge of loss, this is it.