when radical faith goes in mourning

For the next few posts, I’ll be sharing a bit of my story with you, and the reason for this blog. You can read the first post in the series, when the power of prayer seems lost and then head back to this post. And welcome!

My miscarriage left me shaken, and no longer sure God would come when I called…

#SurprisedByLife

I imagine Mary must have felt a bit like that when Jesus finally came to her after Lazarus’s death. They’d sent word to Jesus four days prior that their brother was sick and needed the Savior’s attention. But he hadn’t come. By the time Jesus arrived Lazarus’s body had already started to rot, and in Mary’s eyes, all hope for his life was gone. This Mary who had once so eagerly embraced Jesus, just maybe found herself feeling abandoned by the Man she once believed could do anything. We read about it in John 11.

So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house.” ~John 11:20

Mary, the one Jesus once praised for sitting at His feet. Mary, the one who neglected serving to share in the Master’s teaching. Mary, the one who opened her heart to Jesus so deeply, now sat unmoved by His presence.

Why?

I believe it was because she no longer trusted Him with her heart. Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible states that Mary “was so overwhelmed with sorrow that she did not care to stir, choosing rather to indulge her sorrow, and to sit poring upon her affliction, and saying, I do well to mourn.”

I Do Well to Mourn

Mary had lost heart. And while scripture doesn’t give us an inside look at exactly what she felt, it’s easy to deduce that she felt abandoned, alone, and angry with her Jesus. I felt each of those emotions in the wake of my miscarriage. I still believed that God was good, but I closed off the place of radical belief in His desire to be good to me. I quit dreaming. Quit hoping. And just sat still, basking in what goodness He had already given, refusing to dream that He might give it again.

My radical faith had gone in mourning.

I’ve written about the losses my family endured during a particular season many times. In a span of just six years I lost two favorite uncles, my grandfather, a favorite aunt, and a friend. The miscarriage seemed to be the icing on the cake.

Maybe the lid to my prayer box had been slowly closing all that time, and the miscarriage locked it. After living a fairly uneventful life, losing six people in six years nearly did me in. Add to that the disciplines of daily life, homeschooling two rambunctious boys also born in that season of loss, and dealing with the stress of a husband who works shift-work, and you get an ugly but clear picture of all that lurked beneath the surface of my heart just waiting for whatever it took to put me over the edge.

It was a difficult, but necessary place for me to dwell, and losing so much in such a short span of time forced me to ask the tough questions about life. I looked deeply at the cross, and wondered again, “If God never answered another prayer for me, if He never met another need, would His gift of Jesus and my salvation be enough?

I answered hard questions, like why anyone would want to serve a God who allows their pain, and decided that even if I felt like giving up on my faith I couldn’t, because I had come to know and believe that Jesus was the Christ and had the words of life. If I wanted life at all, it would have to come through His hands. . .the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Question: Have you ever doubted God? Ever found yourself so hurt by life that you quit dreaming? Quit hoping for answers to your prayers?

Come back tomorrow as we talk about opening the lid and choosing to believe one more time.

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I adore Logos Bible Software, and it helped me write today’s post. Check Logos out for yourself!

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ Barbie

    Oh yes, I’ve been in that place, of doubt and loss of dreams. We are out of that season now, but I still wonder why and what it was all for.

    • Brooke McGlothlin

      We don’t always know, do we Barbie? But I do believe God has a purpose for everything in our lives. Sometimes it takes years to really see, sometimes our faith becomes sight on the other side of heaven.

  • http://29lincolnavenue.com Stacey

    “Mary, the one who opened her heart to Jesus so deeply, now sat unmoved by His presence.” – sorrow and loss have this effect don’t they? Oh sweet Mary, she is always so elevated because she is the one who chose well, is it just me, but is it nice to see that she is human and in the deep sorrow of loss we see her, hurting. But we see Jesus moving toward her.

    • Brooke McGlothlin

      I thought so too Stacey. I’m sure you’ve had those times when a story you’re read over and over again from the Word suddenly means something entirely new to you? I literally stopped in my tracks when I read that Mary sat unmoved by the Savior’s coming. And because I knew the rest of the story, I knew I was going to be ok because Jesus moves toward me (and you) too. Blessings sweet girl :)

      • Elizabeth

        I’ve heard/read Mary’s story numerous times… I never caught this part. Thank you for pointing it out.

        • Brooke McGlothlin

          It was my first time seeing it too Elizabeth. Isn’t it amazing how the Lord saves what we need from His Word until we need it the most?

  • http://staceydaze.blogspot.com Stacey

    I always saw this part, where Martha ran and Mary stayed, as Martha’s redemption. I haven’t had the pain that you have, but I have had my own doubts and struggles. Still working through it in a way, I guess.

    • Brooke McGlothlin

      Good point Stacey.

  • Crystal D

    Brooke, unfortunately I am in that season now in my life of doubting God will show up…on time. I am angry at times….mainly frustrated at the path He is putting me and my family down. And just have to wonder “why?” I want to scream, “WHY?” I do not understand….and I know I am not to fully understand Him….and that part of me just has too many negative emotions that I know are wrong towards my Father, but my fleshly self still has them towards this loving and giving God. I do not deserve a single thing from Him, yet he still does choose to bless me. I just pray He chooses to do it ‘in time’. Sorry for my ramblings. :)

  • Sharon

    This is exactly the season I have been in for the last four years. My husband’s long unemployment, my health issues, financial worries and countless other things that keep us wondering when we will catch a breather! I am struggling so much and wonder what in the world God is doing to us. I know trials and tests refine us, help us keep our eyes on Jesus. Because of theses hard times, my faith has grown so much. But what do you do when you are so weary in the journey that it becomes impossible to find the good in life? And I doubt that God cares about the pain and heartache we are going through. I am determined not to give up. Because I do believe God is good, just wonder if He has forgotten about us?

  • susan

    Brooke, your journey sounds so much like my own. my husband faced the prospect of losing his job less than a year after we were married, i had had our first daughter and was expecting the second when we moved to a town where work was steady. being ripped away from my safe cocoon of family and my hometown was more than i could bear, but i learned to live & even almost thrive while still guarding my heart until we lost baby#5 (my fifth pregnancy, first miscarriage) and then my husband’s health fell apart, then lost baby #6 and my heart was locked up tight. wanted so badly to walk away from God and the faith i was raised with. i almost did…but i had to put up a “front” for my kids and be a good christian. one song as i look back now on what i feel is “the other side” of my hell…or maybe my desert wandering would be more appropriate…that speaks to me so much as to where i was is “Broken Hallelujah” by mandisa. even in my absolute most broken state, when all my dreams laid shattered at my feet and i couldn’t see a light anywhere, just fear, depression and darkness, my gut reaction, as i suspect yours is/was, was to praise God because somewhere he was still good.

    • http://www.walkingthroughthevalley.com Stephanie

      Susan, I can feel your pain. I pray you keep finding the strength to praise Jesus in your trials. Because He is still good. A great big sister in Christ hug to you. Keep the faith.

  • http://www.walkingthroughthevalley.com Stephanie

    I sure have! When my husband was diagnosed with ALS, the “worst disease ever”, my dreams flew out the window. I sat like Mary did, in stunned silenced. I questioned God’s Word. He promised all things would work together for good to those who loved Him. We loved Him, how could my husband having a disease that would paralyze his body slowly, while my children watched, until he could no longer breathe, ever be good?

    But Jesus moved toward me. He gave me kingdom eyes. All things will work together for good, because even though sickness, death, disease, and hurts will come, He has overcome them all through the cross. Because of that we will one day be in a place where none of this happens. I had to stop thinking of just this life and start thinking of eternal life.

    It was not easy, and it still isn’t easy. But God is carrying me through it. I still haven’t dared to dream again though….but slowly I am seeing things take place.

  • carrie

    When I was in highschool we had a Ladies’ Conference at church and my Pastor’s daughter was one of the special speakers. One of her twin sons had recently been diagnosed with autism. She spoke on “When God is Silent.” This was about 20 years ago. I was a teenager. I have never forgotten her talk and God has used it countless times to encourage me. She used this story of Mary and Lazarus. Mary was so disappointed that Jesus didn’t come in time. “Jesus, why did you tarry?” “You could have saved him.” I can hear her pain and can empathise with her. Jesus came, but Lazarus had already died. And Jesus cried. Then, He RAISED LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD. Yes, Jesus could have saved Lazarus and healed him, but He had something greater in mind. He brought him back to life! Sometimes, God is silent because He wants to do something bigger in our lives than we can ever imagine.

  • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

    “I still believed that God was good, but I closed off the place of radical belief in His desire to be good to me. I quit dreaming. Quit hoping. And just sat still, basking in what goodness He had already given, refusing to dream that He might give it again.”

    I have felt this — lived this. Your words here clearly define a mystery in my heart.

    Thank you for your honesty in sharing your trials… and the hope that you found.

    Blessings to you…

  • Trista

    Bless you Brooke! Bless you for these blogs! I am sharing with all my friends, it’s like water in the middle of a drought!