Barrenness and the loss of a child are two topics that can be very painful to bring up. To avoid any misunderstanding, please allow me to briefly highlight my personal “credentials” for approaching such tender subjects, credentials that were not acquired academically, but through experience in my personal life and in my life of ministry.
Having Pastored in churches for quite a few years and having walked with people through all kinds of tragedies and heartbreaking situations, I am of the opinion that the deepest and most painful traumas that a human might experience are (1) the loss of a child, and (2) the barrenness of a marriage.
By no means does this diminish the anguish of any other trauma. I’ve witnessed plenty of other tragedies too; I’ve been there when children were informed of the brutal murder of their father; when unfaithfulness in marriages were exposed; when the tests for cancer reported Stage 4 levels with only a few months of life remaining; when child molesters were confronted in front of their spouse and were subsequently arrested; and the list goes on.
On a personal level, my wife and I have experienced the miscarriage of four babies early in our marriage, the fourth pregnancy resulted in an emergency surgery to save the life of my wife. Our baby had already passed away in the womb, but my wife had hemorrhaging that had her only minutes away from passing through death’s door. We have been married almost 30 years and we remain barren and childless.
I share the above not for sympathy nor as a boast (except to boast of God’s incredible grace!), but as a means for qualifying for the right to address those of you who themselves know the pain of the loss of a child or the barrenness of a childless marriage.
In the bitterness of our pain we can reach a point where we refuse any comfort whatsoever, either from people or from God. In our view, there is nothing of equal value that can ever take the place of the absence of that child, not even another child! This anguish, though it is not good to remain in this condition, is certainly understood by God. He offers us healing for our pain, but He does not force us to be healed.
“A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
~ Matthew 2:18 / Jeremiah 31:15
When King Herod tried to find and murder the baby Jesus, he ordered the violent murder of every male child that was 2 years of age and younger. You and I can imagine with some measure of accuracy the trauma that mothers and fathers experienced that night. They too “refused to be comforted” in the pain of their child’s absence. This was predicted by the prophet Jeremiah.
Our pain is no surprise to God. Before we ourselves were born He already knew what we were going to experience. He even knew that many of us would refuse to be comforted by Him or by anyone else. We don’t have any of the answers to “why,” but someday after we leave this planet, God will allow us to see the big picture and yes, we will be satisfied that He was good through it all.
If you have been refusing to be comforted, please know that being comforted is not a traitorous act against your absent child. Being comforted does not diminish their God-given value nor does it deny your love for them. Allowing yourself to be comforted is a way of saying that you forgive God for the absence of your child.
Yes, our bitterness of soul at our loss or our barrenness can become the poison of unforgiveness… our unforgiveness of God, or of our spouse, or of ourselves. “If God would have…” or “If my spouse would have been fertile…” or “If I hadn’t had an abortion in my youth…”
Whatever the reason behind your chronic refusal to be comforted, I would like to plead with you to please surrender your pain to the grace and healing of God. Open your heart and ask God for His healing touch; allow Him to be the God Who knows everything from beginning to end; allow Him to lead your life out of the trauma and tragedy. There really is genuine hope and healing and joy, even with the absence of our children.
“He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.”
~ Psalm 113:9
Thank You for reading. I pray that we all will know the refreshing that comes from a God-healed and comforted heart, regardless of how He restores our happiness.
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