Fifteen years ago this week we lost our first child. Twelve weeks of morning sickness and multiple tests and ultrasounds told us that someone was there. Struggling, but there. Finally, in the doctor’s office on Christmas Eve, there was a steady heartbeat. In the same office the morning after New Year’s Day, there was none.
I haven’t thought of our unborn child for some time, but I was reminded today—twice.
This morning in church, along with Christmas carols, we sang a song about restoration—how God turns our mourning into dancing. As I sang, I thought of how God made those lyrics a reality in my own life this very week a decade and a half ago. In January 1997 I was struck with unexpected sadness, but I was also strengthened with unexpected grace. In the midst of our loss, God gave a gift of indescribable peace—a sober joy—to walk that sorrowful road.
This evening I was visiting with a neighbor on her front porch. The porch light must have caused the gold band I wear on my right fifth finger to sparkle for just a moment. In the middle of our conversation, it caught her attention, and she complimented the ring. Nobody ever does that. The ring is small, simple, and insignificant in design. I walked through the open door the Lord presented . . .
“Thanks,” I said. “Would you like me to tell you about this ring?”
“A year before our oldest was born, we lost a baby. Actually, it happened during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. . . . This ring represents that baby. It is a reminder to me, my husband, and my children that someone else was here. It was so hard, but through it all, I had a very special sense of God’s grace. I knew God loved me, and I knew God loved that child. And, I also knew that God had a good plan and purpose in all that happened. The Lord gave me great peace.“
Near the end of my explanation, I realized that I was smiling as I spoke. An authentic, unpretentious smile of healing—of peace.
Such peace is not a result of memories faded by time or positive thinking. Such peace is only possible through a personal relationship with Jesus—the Savior and the God of all comfort. The genuine spiritual peace I experienced in the midst of this loss was only possible because of the peace I first had with God through Christ:
“Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)
1. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” The perfect, sinless Jesus made payment for my sin by bearing the wrath of God on the cross in my place. He arose from the dead proving His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father and displaying His victory over sin and death.
2. “The grace in which we stand.” Because of Christ, I am secure as a beloved child of God who continually receives His grace and bountiful gifts in my life.
3. “We exult in hope of the glory of God.” Because of Christ, it is an assured expectation that I will experience and enjoy the glory of God forever.
And so, today I am reminded of the Prince of Peace who came to bring His Peace to earth—and to me. Through faith in Him I am at peace with my Heavenly Father, I experience His grace and help on a daily basis, and I have an eternal hope and perspective amid the sorrows of life. Apart from Christ, there is no salvation, strength, joy, or ultimate purpose for this life nor the life to come. But in Him, I receive these gifts—these gifts of peace. (To learn more about finding peace this Christmas, click HERE.)