*This is the third and (possibly) final installment of my posts about the miscarriage I suffered last week. You can read part one here and part two here. Thanks for reading and for supporting and encouraging Hubs and I these past few days.*
When I started blogging nearly two years ago, I picked the URL The Style Geek because a.) it was available b.) it was catchy and c.) it gave me focus. I’d done my research and noticed that the most successful blogs were ones that talked about specific things. Since I consider myself a stylish person and I work in the tech industry, I feel qualified to discuss two very focused things: Fashion and technology.
But the problem with life is that it doesn’t always fit into two easy categories. And the problem with being a writer is that you process life on a page–and this means you can’t always stay focused. My posts from the past few days have been what I believe Gwen Bell (one of the bloggers who inspired me to start The Style Geek) would call “f-ing fierce.” While I don’t like the language she uses, I affirm the underpinnings of Gwen’s post: In a world that suffers from a digital disconnect, people can start being real with one another again by bringing more of their offline lives online and, as Gwen put it, “being unafraid of living brokenhearted.”
Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ve been living “brokenheartedly” with all of you who read this blog. Don’t get me wrong, the last two posts I’ve made were just about as truthful as it gets, but in both posts I failed to discuss the key thing that has even allowed me to talk about this miscarriage so candidly in the first place: My faith.
Challenging Evil, Questioning Faith
In his book, The Case for Faith, former atheist turned Christian Lee Strobel, says that there are two main questions that people ask about the Christian faith: 1.) How can Christians be so arrogant as to think that Jesus is the only way to God/eternity in heaven? 2.) How could a loving God allow so much evil to enter this world?
The answer to question one is something that you can rest assured I will be addressing in a future post. The answer to question two is what I will address in this post and what has kept me from falling to pieces during the past week.
The problem of evil is something that has troubled people since the beginning of time; but the problem is not unique to the Christian faith. Every religion has to face the question of why there is so much evil in the world, but I personally believe that the Christian faith addresses it best.
The first book of the Bible talks about God’s power and the existance of evil. In Genesis, an all-powerful God created the world and created humans to live in that world .He created humans who have the ability to make choices. Evil enters the world when people know what they should do but choose to do the opposite. God created the world as it was supposed to be, but humans diminished it. Evil is not a result of God. It is a result of humans exercising their free will. *
As Pastor Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life puts it: “Our greatest blessing is our greatest curse. If God creates human beings with the power to choose, He may foreknow what they will do, but He will not control it…otherwise, they are not really free.”
So why didn’t God just create a world without evil? He could have, but He would have had to take away our free will–and then we’d all be puppets. And God didn’t want puppets. He wanted HUMANS who could choose to love Him and choose to love one another or choose not to love Him and not to love one another. Unless you have the choice to NOT love someone, it’s not really love in the first place.*
Can suffering be loving?
People often assume that love is not compatible with suffering, but as Strobel asks: Do parents rescue their child from every potentially painful thing that might happen to them or do they sometimes let them suffer through some things for their own good, to learn a lesson or to accomplish something? How many times have you yourself endured something painful–that, at the time, you did not understand why you were enduring but now look back and say “I see why I went through that?”
Joni Eareckson Tada, a world-renowned speaker, author, artist and philanthropist who was paralyzed from the neck down in a diving accident at 16 years old puts it this way: “To ask why God would allow suffering is to ask why a good doctor would put a needle in the back of an infant to inoculate him. That needle will prepare the infant for something he is not even aware of. In the same way, God has wise, specific and good reasons for the suffering that we go through.”
What are some of those reasons? Well, from my personal experience with suffering (broken relationships, mild depression, an eating disorder, and now a miscarriage), I have seen that I am a much more empathetic, understanding and compassionate person than I previously was. I am also much less arrogant (not being able to make basic decisions like what to eat for your next meal will strip you of all of your pride) and I’m able to relate to and encourage so many other women who are currently enduring similar situations that I have found myself in over the course of my life. Ultimately, that’s what it’s about: Using the trials that we endure here on earth as a way to encourage others going through similar things and point THEM to the love, grace and mercy that was extended to everyone through Jesus death on the cross.
And speaking of His death: Isn’t that the ultimate example of how something so heinous can be turned around and used for good?
God sent his own Son, Jesus, to leave his perfect life in heaven and take on human form–and all the ugly, hurtful things that come along with being a human– live a perfect, sinless life here on earth and then die an excruciating death on the cross so that we (and by “we”, I mean every single person who chooses to accept His grace) can spend eternity in heaven.
Living a perfect life and then dying the worst kind of death hardly seems fair; but as Pastor Rick Warren so aptly puts it once again, “The doctrine of Christianity, unlike any other religion, offers us real hope. Jesus became a man and redeemed us through his death on the cross so that we can spend eternity in heaven with him. When Jesus stretched out his arms on that cross, He was, effectively, saying to us ‘I love you this much. I would rather die than spend eternity without you’.”
Now, in addition to providing us with a way to spend eternity in heaven, Jesus death (and resurrection…something I’ll discuss in greater detail in the post addressing the aforementioned question one) is remarkable for yet another reason: He understands our pain. Philosopher and professor, Peter Kreeft says: “God is in the midst of our pain and He is taking the worst onto himself. It makes me feel a certain kind of kinship. God gets it. He understands. He doesn’t just have the facts straight; He knows exactly how i feel. There is no pain that I’m going through that He does not identify with.”
Carrying Faith in the Face of Death
One of the people Strobel interviews in The Case for Faith is a man named Mark Harringer. Harringer’s daughter was killed at only 18 months old when his wife struck her with the family van while backing it into the driveway on a snowy day.
Harringer recalled his thoughts those first few weeks and months after his daughter’s death: “Do I accept or reject the situation I’m in, based on not knowing the outcome? Can I be angry? Can I turn to drugs? Should I leave my marriage? Those things are not good outcomes.”
Instead, Harringer chose to cling to the promises he found in the Bible. Promises like the one Paul offers the Corinthians in Second Corinthians 4:16-18: “Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
I’ve also witnessed these promises–and the fixation on eternal glory rather than temporal suffering– lived out in the lives of my husband and his family and my mother and her family, all of whom lost a child/sibling in a car accident when that child/sibling was relatively young. And this past week, I’ve had the chance to apply those promises to my own life.
Despite what may have happened to me or what will happen in the future (I’m gonna venture to say that a miscarriage won’t be the worst thing that will happen to me in life), I believe that God loves me and that He is working in my life to grow me as a person and allow me to support others during the times when he is “growing” them. I don’t believe that this life is all there is. I believe that I will know a far greater, happier, richer eternity than anything I could ever experience here on earth after I pass away and spend eternity with my Savior in heaven; and I choose to love Him who makes that eternity possible.
And as Harringer puts it, “That’s what real faith is: not knowing the future, but knowing enough now to make a decision that will change our future…This is all just temporary.”
*Indicates notes taken while reading The Case for Faith. Unfortunately, I cannot find the exact page or quote I am referencing, so I am giving attribution to the book in general at various points in the post that I know are not my own words.