When Sorrow Doesn't Feel "Light"

Before the miscarriage I used to hear verses like Romans 8:28 and 1 Corinthians 4:17 and think “of course God works everything for good. Of course afflictions only last for a moment.” Lately when I hear things like “this light, momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17), I have a tendency to want to say “but it doesn’t feel light and momentary!” Because honestly, in these moments, it feels like the sorrow will last forever. It feels like it won’t ever go away. The sting might lessen. But, for us, we will be missing our baby for the rest of our earthly lives—even if God blesses us with more children. And there is nothing that feels light and momentary about that.

I think that’s why Paul goes on to say in verse 18 that we look to the things that are “unseen” not the “seen.” In my life, the “seen” means walking through life wishing I had held and known my first baby. And that is not a bad wish. But the unseen tells me that this is not the end of the story. We will be reunited with our baby one day. We will be glorified and made new. We will be in complete fellowship with God the Father. Eternity is the end of our story.

That is what we cling to, and need to be reminded of daily. There is a whole host of unseen, glorious, redemptive realities happening behind the dark clouds of the seen affliction. It’s not always easy to see those things, especially when sorrow overwhelms you. In fact, it’s downright hard. It is in those moments that I have seen God uphold me, sustain me, and intercede for me through the power of his Spirit (Romans 8:26). I never understood what it meant for the Holy Spirit to intercede for us in our weakness. But I think I see dimly what it means now. There have been moments where I can barely spit out a “God help me to make it through the day,” but I know he is still keeping me near him—he is interceding for me. He’s preparing me for eternity, even when I can’t see past the transient moments that I am in.