August 31, 2010

Struck Down, But Not Destroyed

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.” 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

The word heartbroken does not begin to describe the crushing emotions I felt 9 months ago when I learned that the unthinkable had happened. A dear friend's newborn son had died after just 8 hours on this earth. This was not just any child. He had been a miracle in the fullest sense of the word right from the start. His conception and life in his mother's womb had been a long time coming. My friend, Lori, had suffered through ten years of infertility, desperately wanting to hold her own child in her arms. After many failed fertility treatments, she and her husband sought to adopt a child from another country. This, too, was unsuccessful. The country they had been led to closed its doors to foreign adoptions, just as the paperwork had finalized and they were preparing to travel to that country to find their child. The couple turned once again to the specialists and decided to undergo IVF treatments, which would be their final chance to have a biological child. God chose to open Lori's womb on the first try and allow her the opportunity to become a mother. I praised Him with her as she posted the pregnancy test on her blog. Though we live far apart, I felt every moment of her pregnancy as if I was reliving my own. When she learned he would be a boy, I thanked the Father for giving her husband the son he'd always wanted. His name would be Matthew, meaning “gift of God”, and that is what he was. A perfect, precious gift. God blessed Lori with a fairly normal pregnancy. Matthew was healthy up until the moment he was born. Were it not for the doctors who rushed Lori off to surgery the moment they realized something was wrong, she most likely would have died too.

To say that this was one of the worst tragedies I have ever experienced sounds so trivial compared to what Lori has suffered. My faith was shaken to the core as I watched her whole world crumble. Questions surfaced that I didn't know how to answer: How could a good and loving God allow my friend to finally have the child she'd always dreamed about, just to watch him be taken away? What good could ever come of such horrific circumstances? It all just seemed so unfair. And then, God showed Himself to be true to His Word. He began to envelope Lori with His love and give her the strength she needed (and still needs) to get out of bed each day. He also gave her a platform to share with other hurting mothers what He has done for her. Lori's story has touched the lives of many people. I have no doubt in my mind that lost souls will come to know the Father through a beautiful little boy named Matthew.

Though I still don't have all the answers and probably won't until I reach heaven's shore, I can be sure of this – God is faithful; God is true. He will never leave us alone, nor will He forsake us. He comes alongside us to carry us when the burdens threaten to break us. Mercifully, the heartache and anguish we endure on this earth are fleeting. We can know without a doubt that God will not waste our pain. He will use it for His glory, “so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body.” I have never seen Jesus more manifested in another person than in the life of my friend, Lori, as she seeks to stand on His firm foundation.

As I write this, I must give honor and glory to the Father, who has once again blessed Lori with the gift of life. She and her husband are now expecting their second child around the beginning of 2011. Would you please visit her blog to give her an encouraging word?  I ask you to lift her up in prayer so that she will be able to hold this child in her arms, kiss sweet cheeks, sing lullabies and snuggle up close.  Pray also for the hurting women around you who are suffering through infertility or have miscarried or lost a child. Be willing for God to use you to love and support the brokenhearted.

Prayer: “I will lift up my eyes to the mountains; From where shall my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow my foot to slip; He who keeps me will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is my keeper; The LORD is my shade on my right hand. The sun will not smite me by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD will protect me from all evil; He will keep my soul. The LORD will guard my going out and my coming in from this time forth and forever.” Amen (from Psalm 121)

Further Reading: Deuteronomy 31:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; 2 Corinthians 4; Psalm 34

1 comment:

Lori said...

I love you, sweet friend.