It is a Friday afternoon in late October, damp and chilly to the bones. I’m enjoying a brisk walk to the doctor’s office from work for my first ever prenatal visit. I am eager and anxious. How weird to think I’m going to be a mom! Will I know what to do? How will my life change? Am I going to get fat? How will my marriage change? Who will the baby look like?
My mind is racing as I wait impatiently for the midwife.
Half an hour passes. Then forty five minutes. Finally, my name is called and I follow the midwife to a room. Blood pressure is good. Weight is fine. Urine test done. She checks for the baby’s heartbeat on my belly. Nothing. She keeps listening a few more minutes. Still nothing. “Let’s try a sonogram”, she says. “It will give us a clearer picture.”
I watch the midwife’s face as she performs the sonogram. She is calm, but I can see her alarmed expression. I am uncomfortable. Something feels wrong. She continues the sonogram a little while longer before turning off the machine.
“I’m sorry. I can’t find a heartbeat. You don’t have a viable pregnancy.” said the midwife nonchalantly.
“Are you sure?” I asked. “I have pregnancy symptoms so how can I not be pregnant?”
“Yes, I’m certain. Your body thinks you are still pregnant, but the baby has no heartbeat.”
And with those words she excused herself, leaving me in the examining room to swallow the news. I choke on tears (even now as I write). How can this be? Why is this happening? Am I dreaming? God? God? It can’t be true? God! Where are you?
The midwife finally returns and explains what will happen next. A procedure is scheduled to end the pregnancy. I can’t think clearly. Her lips are moving, but I can’t comprehend anything she says. I want to crawl into a corner and cry. Somehow, I manage to hold back screaming emotions because it seems ridiculous to break down right then and there.
A little later, I leave the doctor’s office and step out into the cold, uninviting rain. The scenes around me are blurred and foggy through ocean-filled eyes. I can’t contain my emotions any longer. Confusing and overpowering thoughts wage war in my mind until the rage within me screams, “God! Where are you? Why is this happening? The midwife must be wrong. Machines are not perfect. You can save my baby God! I know you can. Please. Please. Let this not be true!
I saw the midwife Friday afternoon. At 1:30 Monday morning, my husband rushes me to the ER where I would deliver my baby hours later. After receiving two pints of blood from the miscarriage and surgery, I stayed in the hospital for four days. My body didn’t heal properly, so I had another surgical procedure two months after the first. It would take over six months for me to recover physically. Emotionally, I am a wreck. I weep more and harder than ever. My faith in God is shattering to pieces with each passing day.
God! Where are you? Are you even real? Do you really care about me? If you are real, you could have kept my baby alive. Why didn’t you? Maybe, you are not as powerful as I believed, or you would have intervened and spare me the agony. I don’t understand. Why? Why did you not answer my pleas? Why?
You are not a good God! You are not real! You are powerless? I have believed in vain!
So begins my search for God and what it means to have faith. I wrestle with Him day and night. I thought I knew Him well. Turns out I am wrong. I can’t be comforted because I am angry with God. Strangely enough, I continue to pray and go to church. I wanted answers. I needed to understand why things happened as they did. In my pain and anger, I didn’t turn against God. In fact, I turned to Him more than ever before. I kept asking, “God! Where are you?”
I didn’t want to believe in God any longer, but I couldn’t stop seeking Him. Maybe it’s because He didn’t leave me alone. He kept sending Christians to show me His love. Every time I doubted, God would let me know He is present. A card, a call, or a visit from a friend comes at just the right time I needed hope. Hearing stories of others who have suffered or are suffering encouraged me to keep my faith. The evidence of God’s presence with me was undeniable. It sustained and carried me through my most unbearable pain.
I don’t remember when I stopped asking, “God! Where are you?” But eventually I did. Because each time I called Him, God showed up. He was with me through every hard moment in the following three years, before I conceived again.
Friends, you may be asking, “God! Where are you?” You may be disheartened by the suffering and seemingly unanswered prayers for yourself and/or the people you love. Maybe, you are questioning God’s goodness and power as I have. It’s okay. God expects us to have questions when we are hurting and suffering. He understands our unbelief and anger. He is not surprised by them. Actually, he invites us to come to him with our questions, doubts, and disappointments. For when we seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him. This is God’s promise for you and me, found in the Bible from the book of Jeremiah 29:13.
So go ahead and ask the tough questions. But come to God, not yourself or others for answers. For only through understanding Him and knowing Him more intimately, will you find the peace and hope to move beyond pain and suffering when they come.