Good Friday and Easter: a view from the lens of child loss

My grief journey began suddenly in 2018 when my youngest daughter, Ellie, died in my arms at just 10 days old. I was crushed. Friends, family, and strangers came together around the world and prayed for my daughter’s healing, but unfortunately God’s plan for my child did not match my own.

I had been a devout Christian for as long as I could remember but suddenly I found myself questioning my faith and everything I had ever known about God. I believe that God is omnipotent – all powerful; capable of ANYTHING. Even capable of healing my daughter when her medical team painted a dismal picture of her future. When He chose not to heal her it felt like an attack from the very God I had placed my hope and future in.

The questions and anger built as I tried to make sense of what happened. Why did He allow this? When His very breath could have breathed healing into her, He chose not to. She was an innocent baby with her entire life ahead of her, yet her future was unnecessarily cut short. There were times when it was difficult to remain close to God because I was so utterly heartbroken and hurt by what felt like a personal attack. How could he allow my family to suffer with this magnitude of pain? He knows my heart better than I do myself. Didn’t He know how much pain I was going to experience by losing my daughter?

As a bereaved parent I oftentimes feel unrelatable to the rest of the world. Unless someone has personally journeyed through child loss it’s impossible to truly understand the depths of how my soul aches every single day. But as the season of Good Friday approaches, I remember there is One who understands on the deepest level – it’s God. The very One who I sometimes feel distanced from because of loss is the One who gets it more than I can fathom.

His son Jesus was innocent and blameless, yet God watched as Jesus suffered and died on a cross. He could have intervened at any moment but He didn’t, and oh how that must have crushed God to witness. His son was a sacrifice for the good of mankind – for sinners just like you and I. God understands the heartbreak that I feel every day because He’s lived through the pain of losing a child.

After Jesus died, the Bible tells us the earth shook and the rocks split (Matthew 27:51). I believe this was God’s display of the heartbreak and devastation he was experiencing after his Son’s death. When I read these words I feel a sense of peace and comfort. He gets it. I know that God will sit alongside me in my grief, one bereaved parent to another, and He can relate to my pain like no one else can.

Jesus’ life and death had an amazing purpose: a promise of hope and eternal life in heaven for those who believe. On Easter we celebrate that hope of a future in heaven – not only a future with Jesus but also a future with my daughter. We will be reunited someday, and that gives me so much hope. If it weren’t for Jesus’ death and resurrection, my daughter’s death would have a sense of finality. But alas, there’s an eternity awaiting me that is too beautiful to comprehend.

As I reflect on this Easter season I feel a sense of renewal of my faith. I feel understood and known, which can be such a comfort when it feels like the world can’t comprehend. God understands my heartache and will continue to hold my hand as we trudge through the pain together.

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