“Can you please pray for my friend? She has just suffered a miscarriage.” The two friends had approached me for prayer during prayer ministry time at the end of the worship service. Many were coming forward to be prayed for. I don’t know why these two came to me. It was probably a divine appointment. I lost the first baby I ever conceived to a miscarriage. (This was with my first wife Hee Ling who subsequently passed away from cancer.)
This happened in 1984. We were students at Regent College, Vancouver. I recall the excitement when we found out that Hee Ling was pregnant. This was to be our first child. I was so excited about becoming a dad. I visualised holding our baby in my arms. And then there were the joyful phone calls to our parents. This was to be the first grandchild on both sides of the family. My dad in particular really loved children and the news made him so happy.
A few weeks later, we lost our baby. We had just come back from seeing a movie, Starman (1984). Suddenly Hee Ling developed very painful spasms. And we lost our baby. One of the hardest phone calls I had to make was the call to my parents. What could I say? Sorry mum and dad. No grandchild. Broken hearts all round.
I grieved for many months. Doctors and well-meaning friends would tell you the usual. “20% of first conceptions end in miscarriage.” “There must have been something abnormal with the foetus.” “God will give you other children.” Can you imagine how hearing any of the above helps someone who is grieving? Hee Ling seemed to grieve better. I suspect the actual acute pain of the miscarriage gave her a focus for her loss. I was grieving the loss of a dream.
The turning point came when I met a friend from Regent who told me that she had suffered many miscarriages before she had her first healthy child. I can’t remember how many miscarriages she had to go through. It’s been so long. All I recalled was that it was a huge number. She offered no advice, gave no platitudes. She just shared about what she had gone through. I knew her to be a woman of deep faith, someone who loved the Lord and who deeply cared for people. The unstated lesson: The Lord will see us through our losses, including the loss of a child through a miscarriage.
I haven’t thought of this chapter of my life for a long time now. Hee Ling and I would have two sons. Stephen would come and then Andrew. And now, blessed by my marriage to beloved Bernice, I have the privilege of two more boys, Mark and John. We thank God for all our sons. But I never forgot the deep loss that comes from a miscarriage.
So I let the memory of that loss become a conduit for the Spirit to minister when I prayed for the sister who came out for prayer that Sunday morning. I told her that there would be a valley to go through and that there would be no short cuts but that one day she would emerge from the other side. I mentioned briefly my own experience. I prayed for the Lord’s healing for her and her husband. I also said that perhaps it was a bit too early to say it but, one day when she was more healed, God would use her to minister to others who go through loss, especially those who suffer miscarriages.
There are many mysteries this side of heaven. I believe in a God who is sovereign, loving and wise, a God who knows what He is doing, though sometimes I have no clue what He is up to. I also believe that one day He will usher in the new heaven and the new earth and on that day creation will be completely healed and we will be fully whole. Until that day, we live by Paul’s injunction in 2 Corinthians 1:3–4:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (NIV)