Where is God when tragedy strikes? Christine Caine shares two biblical truths that comforted her in the wake of a soul-crushing disappointment — a miscarriage. I recommend this excerpt from Undaunted to anyone who feels drained and discouraged by disappointments. -Adam Forrest
Stuck in disappointment
Disappointment is a sad and terribly lonely place. We all land there at some point in life. Your children move away and never call. Colleagues betray you. The company to which you’ve devoted your years “downsizes,” and you’re on the list right along with the newcomer and the slacker. The man you love doesn’t love you back. The perfect child you dream over and tend in pregnancy is born with defects that will make the rest of your life, and all your family members’ lives, nothing less than challenging. You get a disease or suffer an injury for which there is no relief or cure. Your investments dwindle. Friends disappear. The one you’ve prayed to find Jesus never does. Your dreams shatter. Best-laid plans go astray. Other Christians fail you. People disappoint you. You even disappoint yourself.
Any one of these things can introduce sadness, discouragement, and dismay into your life; any of these things can daunt you. And the long series of disappointments you accumulate in a lifetime can stop you from moving forward into all the goodness God has planned for you — and that means they’ll be stopping not only you, but also all those God has destined you to reach along your life journey. After all, how can anyone stuck in their own disappointment help others out of theirs? How can you convince others of the wonder of God’s promises if you doubt them yourself? How can you share how God has saved you when you don’t feel saved at all?
I had to resolve my own heartache if I expected to keep ministering to others in theirs.
But [this miscarriage] would be a hard one to move beyond. Why is it that you can know in your head that God has your good in mind and can redeem any and every circumstance, and yet you can still feel hugely disappointed and deeply despondent? Your head tells you God is trustworthy — but in a moment of aching disappointment, your heart tells you he’s not even there.
In my world and Nick’s, after the miscarriage, everything was not okay. If we were going to get through this without developing bitterness of spirit, we had to process our disappointment in a healthy way. We had to conclude for ourselves that the valley of death we were walking through isn’t, to borrow an image from Pilgrim’s Progress, a Slough of Despond from which we would never emerge, but simply a shadow, and that shadow would not define our lives. Christ does. And yet — this was not a job loss, or a financial reversal, or a wrecked car. This was the death of a long-awaited child, a child much-loved though I never had the chance to hold him in my arms or kiss his head or feel his breath on my face. This would be so hard to triumph over.
If I were to move beyond the daunting disappointment of this moment, I would have to remind myself of things about God that I knew to be true, though they might not feel true at the moment. There was so much I did not know, yet I was determined to cling to what I did know. I turned to the only place I could in such grief. I turned to God’s Word. Let me share with you the truths that brought me deep comfort and helped me begin to accept the disappointments that we cannot escape in life.