A Month Later: Thoughts of a Grieving Father

[For those unaware, my wife Ashley recently miscarried our third child.] The last month has been incredibly trying. I have experienced this excruciating transformation from a dispassionate robot with the emotional aptitude of a brick, into a blubbering sack of sentiment. I’ve learned a few valuable lessons along the way. Mainly, crying in public is always awkward, no matter what (sorry, to all the patrons of carpe diem).

Truthfully, I started to type out a list of things that I wish people would(n’t) have said to us, but I would much rather you read this post on How to Help Bereaved Parents in Your Church  instead.

Over the course of the last month I have been asked some difficult questions:

  • Where is God in the midst of suffering?
  • Why would God allow this to happen?
  • Why did this happen to your family?
  • Do babies go to heaven?

I could paint in broad biblical strokes, but the response to these questions (at least for me) can be briefly stated in three words: I don’t know.

Typically the answer I don’t know exhibits either ignorance or weakness in one's argument. But, for the believer, ‘I don’t know’ can also be indicative of truth beyond our scope of reasoning. I’ve learned (the hard way) that if there is an infinite God large enough to be mad at for the suffering in the world, then there is also an infinite God big enough to have reasons for it that I cannot think of.[1]

The question therein is this: how can one have peace when the remedy for these crisis questions is ‘I don’t know’? If you’ll allow me, this is a bit from Calvin’s Institutes (1.2.2) that brought me great comfort this morning:

It [the mind of the believer] thus recognizes God because it knows that he governs all things; and trusts that he is its guide and protector, therefore giving itself over completely to trust in him. Because it understands him to be the Author of every good, if anything oppresses, if anything is lacking, immediately it betakes itself to his protection, waiting for help from him. Because it is persuaded that he is good and merciful, it reposes in him with perfect trust, and doubts not that in his loving-kindness a remedy will be provided for all its ills.

I thank the Lord who in His infinite wisdom saw fit to gift John Calvin with the eloquence to succinctly articulate what I've been incapable of putting into words.

Simply put: even when I don't know, I know, because I trust Him and He is good.

[1] Timothy Keller, “The Faith to Doubt Christianity” http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/08/27/the-faith-to-doubt-christianity/, Accessed 9/3/2012.