By Lisa Loraine Baker, Crosswalk.com
Pastors and other Christians face many challenges in ministry, not the least of which is providing comfort when the tragedy of a miscarriage strikes families. The loss of a child presents parents with a heartache which seems insurmountable. But the loss of a baby even before they are born is grievous almost to the point of being unassuageable.
What does a pastor, a family member, or a friend say and/or do to help ease the bereaved ones’ burden? The best place to start is on our knees in prayer, and in God’s Word. Only God’s Word will bring healing to one’s spirit and soul. It’s our responsibility as His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) to speak God’s loving truth to the bereaved, as led by His Spirit.
Does the Bible Mention Miscarriage?
The Bible directly mentions miscarriage in 2 Kings 2:21 when the Lord God addresses His peoples’ need to rely on Him as opposed to the false god, Baal, to heal them from such things as miscarriage.
The word miscarry is used in Exodus 23:26 as the Lord’s promise to the Hebrews of no miscarriages, and also to make them fruitful in the Promised Land. “Miscarry” is also used in Job 21:10 as Job rails against the wicked, whose cows do not miscarry.
While the Bible does not directly speak to the affects of miscarriage, it does give us at least one important account of a suffering parent.
In 2 Samuel 12, we read about David’s sin against the Lord, and against Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah. David and Bathsheba’s adultery led to the conception of a child. In verse 14, Nathan the prophet tells King David his child with Bathsheba will die. The child was born and the Lord afflicted the child as He said He would.
David sought the Lord by prayer and fasting, and after seven days, the child died. When he was told of the child’s death, however, David “arose from the earth and washed and anointed himself and changed his clothes. And he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. He then went to his own house” (2 Samuel 12:20). David explained to his confused servants he fasted and wept in case the Lord would be gracious to him and allow the child to live.
Christian parents who suffer a miscarriage without doubt wonder why God allowed the tragedy to happen, and they also ask Him where their child is. Verse 23 gives parents who have lost children great hope, for David, who had an understanding of the afterlife, said, “But now he is dead. Why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”
David rested in the promises of God told to him by Nathan in 2 Samuel 7:16, “And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” David’s countenance changed after his child’s death partly because of the covenant God made with David. And through it we learn of the possibility the child of one of God’s children will live and a reunion will take place.
Scripture also reminds us again and again of where our help, hope, and peace comes (e.g., Psalm 121:1).
20 Comforting Things the Bible Has to Say to Families Experiencing Miscarriage
Christians, share these comforting and strengthening passages with families suffering through miscarriage. We can also comfort unbelievers with the same passages, assuring our beloved ones of the hope we have in Christ. Immerse yourself in God’s Word and rely on the Holy Spirit’s prompting for the right timing for all encouragement to the bereaved. There are times for hugs and silence and times for greeting cards with verses. Prayer ahead of time is critical.
1. Psalm 30:5: Weeping lingers through the night, but the Lord brings joy in the morning.
2. Deuteronomy 31:8-9: The Lord God will never leave us or forsake us.
3. Psalm 23:4: We may walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but it’s just a shadow.
5. Psalm 145:18-19: God is ever near. He hears our cries.
6. Isaiah 41:10: Don’t fear. God will strengthen and help us.
7. Isaiah 43:1-2: We are God’s and He protects us.
8. Matthew 10:29-31: The Lord values us. We are worth so much to Him.
9. John 16:22: Jesus promises secure joy will come out of sorrow.
10. Colossians 1:11: We gain strength from His glorious might.
11. James 1:2-3: These trails of life bring great faith through perseverance.
12. Psalm 119:76: God’s unfailing love brings comfort.
13. John 14:27: We have Christ’s peace.
14. John 16:33: Jesus has overcome the world. One day He will set things right.
15: Philippians 4:6-7: Go to God with all our petitions with thankfulness, knowing He will give us peace.
16. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: God’s will is perfect. It will be difficult at first to rejoice in it, but His perfect peace will instill our joy in Him.
17. Romans 8:28: Loving God means everything we go through will turn out for our good and for God’s glory.
18. 1 Peter 5:7: God cares for us, therefore we cast all our anxieties on Him.
19. 1 John 4:4: Many doubts indeed arise, but greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world. Rest in that.
20. James 4:8a: God is waiting for you to draw near to Him, for He will then draw near to us.
21. Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
How Can We Support Families Experiencing Miscarriage?
Our four directive actions should include:
4. Patience practiced by listening and honoring their time of grief.
The following guidelines will help when interacting and comforting parents who undergo such a loss.
God can and does use any circumstances He wills to call people to Him. We, as believers in the Lord Jesus, know this and we can direct our private prayers accordingly, for the Lord may use a miscarriage to:
Draw the grieving unbelievers to Himself.
Grow the faith of the suffering believers.
Show His glory and providence in all situations.
Magnify His name.
As we pray for believing families who undergo such a loss, we trust our God of all comfort to bring many passages to mind for those who are grieving.
The life of a believing parent often includes small groups (Sunday school, Bible study, fellowship group). The members of each group are intimately connected, as prescribed in the Bible. We are to hold fast to our confession of hope in our faithful Lord Christ, stir each other up to love and good works, and regularly meet and encourage one another (Hebrews 10:23-25).
A unified church stands as one body and trusts one another with life’s details, sharing the joys and heartaches. As such, prayers for parents subjected to miscarriage are powerful and effective (James 5:16). This is not gossip; this is righteous prayer for our brothers and sisters.
Christians can come alongside entire families who are devastated by the loss of an unborn child. And family members will stand together with their relatives to comfort them with their presence and with day-to-day tasks to alleviate pressing needs. What a strong witness to unbelieving families when Christians take the time to be with them and to share the best news ever — Jesus Christ (John 6:44; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 11:6). Our hope is found in no one else (Acts 4:12).
Friends perhaps know the bereaved parents better than anyone else. Great friends love each other in ways others can’t. Friends, take time to just sit with your beloved ones. Listen. Hug. Visit as often as they say they want company.
Practical Ways to Help Assuage Grief
Pain is pain — no matter the circumstance. Although God’s Word doesn’t mention specific parental miscarriage, what it does have is myriad passages which bring hope and healing. With this truth in view, the same practical ways to help parents grieving over a miscarriage can help anyone in a time of loss (except for specifics related to the baby).
A special playlist of hymns sent via email. Possible songs to include are In Christ Alone by Keith and Krystin Getty, Is He Worthy by Andrew Peterson, My Hope is Built on Nothing Less by Sovereign Grace Music.
Devotionals and other books which point grief toward the help and peace only the Lord can give.
A handprinted grouping of helpful Bible passages personal to you. You can share how they helped you.
Arrange for meals and offer to drop them off for any who cannot. Stay for a brief visit if the parents are amenable to it.
For an unbeliever who suffers a miscarriage, this moment might be the most important in her and her family’s life. Many Christians came or come to faith at our “lowest low” because we have lost faith in what we or the world can do. God may use suffering to draw us out of the miry pit (Psalm 40:2).
God wastes nothing, and He’s the only One who can completely soothe grief. Jesus invites the weary and burdened to come to Him (Matthew 11:28). If a person remains unsaved, how will they ever know the Lord is our God of tomorrow?
Dr. Sinclair Ferguson adds this note of assurance in God, “The first, of course, is that the Judge of all the earth will do right and that He is a God of tremendous grace, that He sent His Son to bring us to Himself. There is no dark side in God, and so we can rest in the fact that He is a God who everything He does is right and true and good.”
If you are reading this and have suffered a miscarriage, please accept our condolences and our heartfelt prayers for your healing. If you don’t know Jesus Christ, may God bless you with the grace and knowledge of Him. If you do walk with the Lord Jesus, may He fill you with His peace which surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).
Photo credit: Unsplash
Lisa Loraine Baker is the multiple award-winning author of Someplace to be Somebody. She writes fiction and nonfiction. In addition to writing for the Salem Web Network, Lisa serves as a Word Weavers’ mentor and is part of a critique group. She also is a member of BRRC. Lisa and her husband, Stephen, a pastor, live in a small Ohio village with their crazy cat, Lewis.