What story do you tell, even when it’s awful?

Recently, I have been grieving the loss of a child who I will never get to hold.

And when I think about this child who never got to be born, who died just a month into her short life on this planet, I think about all the things that will never happen as a result of her not being born.

“Things will never be right”

I won’t get to hold her. I won’t get to swing her up in the air, or toss her on the bed and hear her giggle. I won’t be able to play silly games with her and put her up on my shoulders.

“Nothing will ever be right”

I won’t see her grow up or learn about her gifts and her struggles. I won’t try my patience against her particular flavor of crazy when she turns 3 or 4, or when she does something unbelievably gross (like painting on a wall with poop during naptime). I won’t get to try to teach her what I know.

“Everything is hopelessly broken forever”

She won’t come down to see me in the middle of the night when she has bad dreams. She won’t refuse to eat some food she hates. She won’t dance around when she’s happy, or fuss and cry when she wants something. She won’t smile at me, or laugh, or play games.

“There’s no point, you can’t fix it.”

The story that is emerging for me is an old one that has less to do with the loss of my precious daughter, the one who my heart aches over, and more to do with the constant temptation towards despair that I have to fight.

Who am I to say “what’s right” or “what ought to be”? God knows. He knows, in His Infinite Wisdom, what would have come to pass were this child to have been born. Perhaps it would have been untold suffering and an eternal loss. Perhaps he made her to be especially loved and to be a source of grace for our family so that we too can be especially loved.

I want to say that I know what things ought to be like.

That I’m the one who has a complaint against the way things are.

That God can’t fix it or make it right.

But the truth of the matter is that I just don’t know that.

God can redeem anything. After all, He redeemed my life, which was hopelessly broken, and getting worse. He redeemed my wife’s life. He is working with us and on us still to bring us ever closer to Him, to bless us in new ways even as the trials become harder.

It’s so hard to keep going when you feel this ache, an ache that is for something so much more profound than your goals or your vision, but for one whom you love.

And yet, God asks us to keep going. To be joyful even. To share our sorrows and our joys, and to become blessed through all of it, so that we can call others to Him and to fuller richer more abundant life.

But I can’t do that if I’m telling my story of despair.

Yes, I lost my beloved child. But that is not the end of the story, and most of the story I do not yet know.

Therefore, I must trust in the One who gives all good things, and hope that some day I will be there with her, and that we will see why it was all better to be what it was instead of what I wanted it to be.






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