A friend of a friend was expecting a baby recently. The baby had some serious health conditions and it wasn't known if she would survive once she was born or immediately die. We were asked to pray.
I prayed. As a mother who lost my first daughter, I prayed.
She was born. And she lived! Today she is still living. She is struggling, yes, and we continue to pray, but these parents have held their daughter in their arms alive! I cried tears of joy for them yesterday. I wrote them and told them that I had prayed so much for them. I had prayed as one who had lost my first daughter, who knows the fear, and was so delighted to hear that their precious daughter survived.
Thee is in me a quiet knowledge that God doesn't always chose to do the miracle. So I don't know what I expected with her birth. Others wrote that they were so confident that she would live. I wasn't. I just knew that God was thoroughly in control. That He could save this little girl's life, or He could take her to be with Him. Whatever He chose to do, He would be with the parents in it.
It is not that I always expect the worst. Another friend of mine was expecting a baby, and I completely expected her to live, and she didn't. It hurts.
I just don't have a confident expectation that God will always do the miracle. When He does, it surprises me. He surprised me with this tiny girl's first breath.
Then I worried about that fact that I had even written to them that I had lost my daughter so I knew how special this was to them. I hoped that they didn't feel guilty. I hoped the question of "Why did our daughter live and not theirs?" never cross their mind.
Because as I heard of her birth and life, I was thoroughly, absolutely, completely delighted. Tears of joy ran down my cheeks.
Not once did my mind go to the question, "Why didn't God save my daughter?" Never. Didn't even think about it. Instead I thought, "I am so glad they don't have to walk that path!"
I faced that question of why the day my daughter died. Settled it with God. I looked up at Him and said, "I will not question Your decisions, but know that You are good, You know what is best, and You deeply love me." I have not wavered from that firm commitment since the day I made it.
Have I hurt? Oh, yes! Have I cried? Still do! Have I thrown myself and my pain against God? Ah... so many times! I've cried out to Him that I just wanted once, even just once, to hold her. I wanted to look into her eyes... I long for my baby girl, my first daughter.
But I never blamed Him. I never asked, "Why did You let her die?!" No. I chose to believe about God what I knew about Him - He is good. He knows what is best. And He loves me. He knows my hurt.
Those choices left no room for bitterness.
As I worried that these friends might feel guilty when they look at those of us who have an empty ache in our hearts for the babies that God did not do the miracle for, that quiet voice that I have learned to listen to spoke. "So why do you have a sense of guilt that I gave you your husband back when others lost theirs?"
Then another question. "How do you think they felt when they heard he was home safely?"
They probably felt like me when I heard this brand new baby took her first breath - absolutely delighted.
Then came peace.
It doesn't mean I don't grieve their loss. It just means that we grieve together and we rejoice together. I grieve with her. She rejoices with me. Together we look up to God and know He is completely in control and is good.
I wish my friends didn't have to face that pain. I do. My heart cries for them. My heart breaks as I look at the photos of my friend's kids and know that they live without their daddy. And her heart delights that my kids got their daddy back.
Today, I cried. Able to set down that feeling of guilt.
Today I understood and accepted her love of me during the crisis and her genuine joy with me hearing that my husband was coming home safe. It was a hard gift to receive from a young widow still grieving the death of her husband.
And as I write that statement, I realize that the other person who has been the most sympathetic with me during these months is also a widow. One who lost her husband way too early also.
Our pain... enabling us to better comfort. hmmm...