For years my wife and I struggled with infertility. Month after month we longed for pregnancy — but were disappointed.
But then one day the doctor called with test results — Jan was pregnant.
We were overjoyed. We called our parents. We told our friends.
We went to a baby store and looked at baby clothes, wondering if it was a boy or girl, trying to imagine what the future held.
But the next day — she miscarried.
We were stunned. Numb.
And overwhelmed with a sense of loss.
Loss — and comfort
Following Jesus doesn’t mean avoiding loss. Whether it’s a miscarriage, or the death of a loved one, or the crushing of a dream — we all experience loss and grief.
But in 2Cor 1:3-4 Paul says that God is the God of all comfort — which means that God is able to completely comfort every loss and grief.
But this doesn’t happen automatically. There are steps of faith we need to take.
So here are steps that have helped me experience God’s comfort in my griefs and losses. I hope you find them helpful —
Turn to Jesus just as you are — and trust Him to help you.
Turn to Jesus just as you are. With your grief. In your loss.
You don’t need to get over your grief first. Bring your grief to Him.
Trust that because of the Cross, by His mercy, He welcomes you as you are — loves you as you are — and will help you as you are.
Ask God to work powerfully in your heart by the Holy Spirit.
You can try to seek comfort apart from God — by keeping busy, escaping into TV, drinking too much, whatever.
But none of these gives true, lasting comfort. Only God does.
God promises to comfort us. He will enable us to feel so much of His love that our griefs and losses are eased.
Not removed. Not forgotten. But eased — healed — comforted.
You can see God’s promises of comfort in Psa 23:4; Psa 71:20-21; Psa 86:17; Psa 119:50; Psa 119:76; Isa 49:13; Mat 5:4; 2Co 1:3-4.
So pray earnestly for God to increase this work of the Spirit in your heart.
Lay hold of God’s promise to comfort you —
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction…” (2 Cor 1:3-4).
When your heart is full of grief and loss — comfort doesn’t seem possible.
But with God it is possible — because even though the loss you feel is great, the gain you have in Christ is greater.
You don’t feel that now. But it’s true. It’s reality. And God will help you feel it.
So lay hold of that promise. Trust God to bring you the deep, heart-felt comfort you need.
Don’t ignore feelings of loss and grief.
You have lost something precious — something God gave you.
In the same way that you thanked God when He gave the gift, you can sorrow before God when He takes the gift (2Co 6:10).
But let it be a holy, humble sorrow. Don’t let sorrow lead to anger or despair.
Fight to trust God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness (Job 1:21).
Bring your grief to Jesus Christ.
Grief is a heart-hunger. And Jesus promises to satisfy every heart-hunger in Himself (John 6:35).
It’s not that he takes the grief away. But He will give you such outpourings of His presence and love that you feel great comfort — because who He is more than makes up for the loss. Really.
But in John 6:35 Jesus says there’s something we must do to have our heart-hungers satisfied in Him. We must come to Jesus and believe in Him.
So set your mind and heart on Jesus as He is revealed in God’s Word.
Maybe ponder His compassion in raising the widow’s only son from the dead (Luke 7:13-14), His mercy in forgiving the sinful woman (Luke 7:47-48), His power in calming the storm (Mark 4:39), or His love as He set His face to go to the Cross to die for you (Luke 9:51).
Pray over these Scriptures until you feel the Holy Spirit making Jesus real to you — until you feel the glory of Jesus, the love of Jesus, the presence of Jesus.
This will probably take some time. So be patient.
But as you pray over God’s Word, asking for His precious comfort, in time He will give it — so powerfully that your every loss and grief will be deeply comforted.
Ask a trusted believer to pray with you.
Individual prayer powerfully touches God’s heart. But in His wisdom God has chosen to have group-prayer touch His heart even more (Matt 18:19-20).
So share your heart with a believer you trust. Share this article with them. Have them speak God’s Word to you, and pray for and with you.
Continue until you feel such love from Christ that your loss is comforted.
This will happen. God has promised (2Cor 1:3-4).
So plead with God to help you, set your heart on who Jesus is, preach God’s promises to your soul, and pray with others — until God pours out His comfort.
The rest of our story
That miscarriage ended our only pregnancy. But God had other plans. Better plans.
He gave us two adorable babies through adoption. Anna is now 28, and Brad is 25 — precious gifts from God.
But not only that — God used the pain of the miscarriage to give us even more of his all-satisfying and heart-comforting nearness.
And he will do the same for you.
He has promised.
Feedback? Comments? Thoughts?
I’d love to hear about your experiences — leave a comment below. Thanks.
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And here’s some related posts you might find helpful —
How God Comforted Hudson Taylor
When Martin Luther was Struggling
Spurgeon's Take on Trials
Jonathan Edwards' Experience of the Glory of Christ
(Picture used with permission from a100tim at Flickr.)