Written by Veena Kuruvilla, Singapore
This Christmas was supposed to have been different for my family. I should have entered the last trimester of a pregnancy that had taken my husband and I by absolute surprise and awe. Our daughter should have seen in my growing belly proof that her prayers for a sibling had been heard.
After two failed adoptions following the first successful one, this unexpected pregnancy seemed to us a sign of the direction in which God desired to grow our family. It was not without its complications, but we were no strangers to God’s ability to overcome the odds. After all, we’d been similarly tested eight years ago—sandwiched between an army of whispers opposed to adoption and a sea of bureaucratic impossibilities—before we were matched with our baby girl. God, by His sheer power and mercy, had kept and led us to the daughter we longed for.
So, this time, even when we were told not to be hopeful at the first doctor’s appointment, we chose not to doubt. We waited in faith. Even after the pronouncement of miscarriage a couple of months into the pregnancy, we prayed for a reversal. But it did not come.
Instead I found myself in pain. Birth pangs told me it was time to let go of the precious life that had keeled over at the starting line. As I looked at the clots and clumps—the remains of my helpless baby—which were to be flushed away, I wept for all that was supposed to be.
I spent many days and nights after in bed agonising. The questions that filled my mind were relentless and brutal. They lashed at all that I knew and believed. I’d described myself as ‘Victorious’ in a gathering earlier this year: victorious in Christ against the thorn that is infertility. And here I was, some time later, crying and asking why, once again, I didn’t have a child. There was no answer to that.
The well-meaning words of my dearest offered little comfort. I yearned to hide. I put a pause on almost everything and hid under the shelter of His Word. During a crying spell that just wouldn’t quit, I opened my Bible to find an exhausted Elijah hiding in the cave. God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9). In that moment, it was my question to answer.
Meeting the God Who Sees
Elijah’s gait had changed from Mount Carmel to Mount Horeb. In the span of 50 verses, Elijah goes from standing tall and challenging Baal worshippers, to bending low in acknowledgement of God’s might, to outrunning King Ahab’s chariot by the fire of the Lord, before finally fleeing in fear for his life. Despite seeing God answer his prayers powerfully over the last few days, in his exhaustion, Elijah confesses defeat and asks God for death. But God was faithful; Elijah was seen, fed, heard, and spoken to (1 Kings 18:20–19:10).
I, too, was tired. It felt like I would be in this valley forever, and my time on the mountain would remain a distant memory. But God in His goodness was calling me to renew my strength in Him. I, too, was seen.
Like David in Psalm 13, I had asked if I would be forgotten forever and if sorrow would continue to be in my heart daily. And I was reminded that this heart of mine was created and called to love the Lord, to know my Father through it all, and to trust in His unending mercy. It is in the darkness of my despair that God shone the light of His truth into the recesses of my heart, where I was hoarding doubt and self-pity. This meant learning to recognise the questions that had to be weeded out and tending to the trail that would lead me closer to Him who is the true reward.
Had God changed? No. He has proven in uncountable ways that He is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer.
Had my blessedness eroded? No, my blessedness comes from the cross where King Jesus suffered, bled and died in my place for the wretchedness of my sin. I am forever blessed because not only am I forgiven but, in His resurrection, also unshackled from the potency of death, disappointment and doubt.
Had I lost heart? David says it best in Psalm 27:13, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living.”
Experiencing a Hope That’s Alive
Infertility, sickness, trying relationships, circumstances, and even death, are not curses in the lives of the children of God. It is in the very darkness that Christ comes through, not only to lift us up but also to fix our eyes on Him! Sure, my womb is barren but, praise be to God, not my heart! Here, in this season of heart-wrenching suffering, my Father is holding me closer still. I could declare with confidence the words of Psalm 37:23–24, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”
His saving hand kept the bare bones of my faith from being fettered by the misery of miscarriage. I parked myself in the Psalms and chewed on the verses, meditating on and drawing comfort from them during sleepless nights.
God’s loving hand also pulled my husband and into a more tender embrace as we shared this sorrow. We had rejoiced together in the thrill of pregnancy and now, by the grace of God, we grieved the loss together. In the weeks following the miscarriage, my husband prayed for me, and lavished me with kindness and understanding.
And as our family spent time learning from the Word, God’s righteous hand has also been underlining His promises in our daughter’s pained heart. I have had the great joy of seeing my eight-year old find meaning and assurance in His Word through some wonderful conversations with her. Oh, the purposeful touch of our Father’s hand is truly glorious.
The Christmas we expected to have—waiting in anticipation for our second child—may have crumbled but not our certainty in Christ. He has proven to be closest to us in our brokenness. In His brightness, every shadow of bitterness has been scattered and our gaze as a family has been readjusted to ascribe praise like never before. And we truly rejoice as we countdown to celebrating the hope we have in Him, which is now all the more tangible.