I have been thinking long and hard about what symbol I might garner to represent our 4th baby. The last time, God gave me a dream, a dream that came true right before my eyes the day we sent our 3rd baby heavenward. But this time, I have had nothing. Until now.
Two passages of Scripture have become bookends around this loss. Isaiah 6:9-13 and Psalm 126.
Isaiah 6 was just part of my daily Bible reading, early on in this pregnancy, when I was just beginning to wrestle with the inevitable anxiety that comes with any pregnancy after a loss. Surprisingly, it was the 2nd half of this infamous chapter that the Lord used to work His grace into my heart. The passage reads:
“And he said, ‘Go, and say to this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive. Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.’ Then I said, ‘how long, O Lord?’ And he said, ‘Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste, and the LORD removes people far away and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.’ The holy seed is its stump.
Now you have to stop and wonder for a minute why on earth I would cite such a devastating prophesy? I mean, God is telling Isaiah that He doesn’t intend to allow His people to hear or see or respond to His words, until so much judgment has occurred, that even what remains after the initial judgment will be destroyed as well. Why would God intend all this devastation and destruction? Because the holy seed is its stump. The holy seed, meaning Christ. According to God’s wisdom and planning and intentions, Christ could not come to earth, unless this awful devastation occurred. This destruction was necessary, it was the path to bringing about Christ’s coming to earth.
From this passage, God spoke to my heart and said, “Cynthe, I am intentional in the suffering I bring about on this earth. There is always purpose to it, and there is always redemption at the end.”
God is intentional and purposeful in the suffering He permits in our lives. It means He’s fully in control, fully in charge. He knew from the start that this baby would only be with us for a month. He knew the transforming work He wanted to do in my heart in that month. He knew the turmoil and hardship of grieving another baby gone too soon. Two babies in His arms in one year. He knew. He has intend this path for me. There is a comfort to me in His intentionality. Because it means He is with me; it means there are boundaries to the suffering. And there is hidden purpose behind it — a purpose He does not allow me to see, but a purpose I can trust. From the seed of destruction comes life and redemption.
And that is where Psalm 126 takes me. My dad called me last night from Texas to pray and grieve with me. He is the kind of man who can’t help but pour out Scripture in every conversation he has with a person. It was a comforting call. But the verse that he cited which is becoming an anchor for me in my grief is from Psalm 126. It reads:
A Psalm of Ascents. “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; they they said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad. Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb! Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.”
A psalm of ascents: meaning, God’s people are walking up to the temple, to worship. They are singing songs to remind them of God’s ways, to prepare their hearts to worship the LORD. This psalm is looking forward to the promises Isaiah prophesied after Isaiah 6. The promises of redemption. And of joy and laughter. Joy and laughter that comes after mourning and weeping. Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! This is a promise for me too. As I am sowing my seeds of tears, I know that one day, these tears will bring me joy. I do not know how or when and for what reasons my joy will come. It is so hard to imagine having joy right now, even though I know that one day, I will have the joy of being in heaven with my babies, and of seeing my great God and Savior face to face. But my tears are not wasted. They are sowing seeds for joy. That is the promise I cling to.
And so, a seed: to remind me of how God is purposeful in devastation, and to remind me that if He brings about Christ through a path of devastation, how much more will He surely bring about joy sown by my tears? The joy of an everlasting kind. A joy that cannot be known here on this earth.