Family, Theology

The God of All Comfort

On this day last year, I sat on my couch anxiously scrolling through Instagram posts filled with sonogram photos and vulnerable captions. It was the first time I was truly aware of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (October 15), and as I read each woman’s experience, I wondered about the tiny baby in my own belly.

Only five weeks pregnant, I had begun to have symptoms of a miscarriage. Yet because of an unclear sonogram, my doctor wanted to wait a week to do another ultrasound to see if the pregnancy was viable. So for a week, I continued experiencing miscarriage symptoms. For a week, I studied the single sonogram image the ultrasound tech had given me. For a week, I read every Facebook post and blog shared about miscarriage. For a week, I oscillated between celebrating the new life in me and grieving the loss of that life. For a week, I prayed miscarriage wouldn’t be a part of my family’s story, but at the same time I saw hope and strength in the mothers who were sharing their stories online.

Three days later, I would get the call that my hCG level was negligible, and I was no longer pregnant. I was shocked. I had sobbed when I first started bleeding a week earlier, but now I didn’t know what to feel. The words of all those women came back to me, especially those who had found hope in God throughout their loss. Even though I had not talked to a single one of those women in person, their stories reminded me that I was not alone. Not only was God with me, but those who have also experienced miscarriage were with me as well.

I often see my time on social media as frivolous at best and harmful at worst. It can so quickly pull me into apathy, discontentment, or laziness as I get stuck in the cycle of scrolling and clicking. But that week, social media gave me a lifeline. I clung to my husband, who grieved alongside me. I clung to God’s Word, which reminded me of the hope of Christ and the purpose of his will through suffering. And I clung to those square images that showed me ways through this grief.

Before that week, I only knew a handful of friends’ miscarriage stories; it’s unfortunately not a topic of suffering that is much discussed. But I believe that sometimes God allows us to go through tragedy so that we can walk with others through their tragedies. Paul encouraged the Corinthian church in their suffering by reminding them that “[God] comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God” (2 Corinthians 1:4, CSB). Our suffering is never meant to be done in isolation; our tragedy is not meant to be hidden. God graciously allowed suffering to be part of our stories so that we can grow closer to him and encourage others to do the same.

Our suffering is never meant to be done in isolation; our tragedy is not meant to be hidden.

While social media certainly has it disadvantages, the courageous women of God sharing on social media their comfort through affliction became part of my miscarriage journey. I only exchanged messages with a few women whose stories I double tapped, but so many more affected my grief tremendously. That is why, only a month after we lost our baby, I shared our miscarriage story. It was one of the hardest pieces to publish, but I wanted other women to find courage and comfort in my story like I had found in others.

Yet Paul didn’t just say that God’s comfort comes to us through other people’s suffering, but also through Christ’s: “For just as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so also through Christ our comfort overflows” (2 Corinthians 1:5, CSB). Because Jesus Christ was made like us in every way, including suffering, he can sympathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). As much as I was encouraged knowing that other mothers had journeyed through miscarriage and had come out more hopeful, I was even more encouraged knowing that Jesus, the founder of my salvation, was made perfect (or complete) in suffering (Hebrews 2:10). He experienced every type of suffering and, through it, “[became] a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God” (Hebrews 2:17, ESV). Through his suffering, Christ opened to us the grace and mercy of God for us in our suffering.

Through his suffering, Christ opened to us the grace and mercy of God for us in our suffering.

While Jesus may not have experienced the grief of a mother miscarrying, he experienced grief over the death of friends, the brokenness of his nation, separation from God the Father, and more. He left the glory of heaven to experience the sorrow each of us feels on earth. And yet through that sorrow, he made a way for unshakeable hope. Hope that I had never known as fully as when I was walking through our miscarriage. With Christ, even when our suffering is “overflowing,” our comfort can “overflow” as well.

This month, you may see women sharing their stories and wonder why they would post something so vulnerable on a public platform. You may have never experienced that specific suffering and may find these stories sad and perhaps even uncomfortable (like I had in the past). But remember that by reading others’ stories, even of experiences you haven’t had or won’t ever have, you are better prepared to continue your own story. They are displaying the glorious comfort of God’s hope that can bring you comfort as well.

I am balancing my six-week-old baby boy in my arms as I type this. While I am filled with joy and gratitude holding him, I am also keenly aware of the fear and hopelessness of an empty womb I held last year. I am reminded of Job’s words “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21, ESV). Today I grieve the baby we will not meet until we reach heaven, but I also praise God for how he used that short pregnancy to remind me of the hope and comfort that is only found in him. I’m thankful to God not only for our precious son’s life that came to fruition, I am thankful for the life he sustained in me for only a few weeks. Both lives are precious. Both were used by God to grow me closer to himself. Both are worth talking about to others.

The God of all comfort is comforting you today and preparing you to comfort those around you.

Sisters (and perhaps even brothers who have made it this far), whether miscarriage is a part of your story or not, know that whatever suffering God writes into your story is important. Social media may prompt us to share our “highlight” reels, but I believe it’s just as important to share the dark times that God is using to teach us. Take courage that wherever you find yourself today—whether exhausted by full arms or despairing because of empty ones—the God of all comfort is comforting you today and preparing you to comfort those around you.

1 thought on “The God of All Comfort”

  1. Bethany, I just read aloud to CeeCee both this post snd last November’s post. We were deeply moved by your powerful and insightful words. We love you and are grateful to God for your gift of writing that honors Him. Papa & CeeCee

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