It was a familiar feeling that cool March Friday as I went for a run after my short work day.
I had experienced these episodes on and off since middle school. Rapid heartbeats that stemmed from disruption of my heart’s electrical impulses. I knew what to expect, and had been educated on how to try and get my heart back into a normal rhythm. Only this time, it didn’t work.
I attempted to stabilize my heart rate for at least ten minutes before I realized I needed to call someone. I was starting to feel light-headed and my vision blurred. A little panic and fear set in as I phoned my husband who happened to be on shift that day. Breathlessly I explained to him what was happening.
Moments later an ambulance was there, and I was hooked to machines. The medic team worked hard, but it was no use. My heart rate was over 200. They informed me they worried I might go into cardiac arrest if the episode lasted much longer, and decided to push adenosine into my IV, a drug to stop and restart my heart. This did the trick, and I begged them to take me to my husband.
Turns out, my more frequent episodes of SVT were brought on by the extra blood volume that occurs when you’re pregnant. I just didn’t know it yet (Hang with me here. This is all going somewhere).
The park story and what happened to my heart is all relevant because it’s part of a bigger story and a work in my life. The next week, I was shocked with a positive pregnancy test. I remember crying tears of joy into Jess’ shoulder in our kitchen. The joy of telling our parents and siblings. The immediate love for that baby. The pure excitement.
Over the next several weeks, we met with my cardiologist who recommended we wait and do a heart ablation surgery after the baby came.
Right at my eleven week mark, I had my routine check up and found out the baby had no heartbeat. I’ve touched on this before. The way I felt. How I dealt with it (or more accurately put, how I didn’t deal with it).
Sometimes when bad things happen to us, it can feel arbitrary. We naturally search for purpose and clear answers to rationalize tragedy. I don’t believe that suffering is God’s desire for us, rather it’s something that just occurs in the process of life. Sometimes it’s a consequence of our sin or poor judgment. And often it’s not. Sometimes life is just hard because we live in an imperfect and sin-filled world.
We all know the story of Job. Not sure there’s anyone who knows more about loss than this man. What a great family and many possessions he had been blessed with. How God had positioned a hedge of protection around Him. When he had practically lost everything, even his own health, his wife said to him, why don’t you just curse God and die?? But his response was, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?(Job 2:10).
Now I wouldn’t dare try and compare myself to Job. The bumps and jolts that have been thrown at me are not a notable comparison to what he endured. The point that Job so easily grasped that we seem to often miss, is that God is in control, NOT us. THIS is the part I relate so well to. He knows what He is doing when He allows us to fall on hard times. Just as He knows what He is doing as He allows the good things.
Deep down we have assurance that each and every thing that happens to us passes through God’s fingers. We can be confident and fully trust what He allows and disallows in our lives. Just like Job, we need to remember that life is not perfect. It’s foolish to believe we aren’t going to get beat up now and again.
Think back to the most painful time of your life. What can you now see God working through the tragedy and loss? Not causing it, but coming to you when you are vulnerable and in need. Lifting you up, teaching you compassion, showing you love.
Loss equips us to be a living testimony to others.
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. 2 Cor 1:4
When we pass through our own fiery trial always finding God to be true to what he says, we have a real help to offer. We have firsthand experience of both His sustaining grace, and his purposeful design. He has not only kept us through the pain, but also reshaped us more into his image in the process. What we experience from God, we can give away in increasing measure to others.
Loss can really make it difficult to see God’s purpose. Especially when we only feel pain and grief. Many times we don’t want to be reminded that God is working our difficulty for our good. But if we hold fast to the knowledge that He is working ALL things for our good, we can have smoother transitions of accepting this truth in hard places.
After my miscarriage I was able to get my heart ablation, which could have very well saved my life or the lives of my babies in my following pregnancies. I can’t imagine missing out on a single one of these four little lives God has given me to borrow. And I know I wouldn’t have them, if I hadn’t gone through my initial loss. But loss doesn’t always have a clear answer. We don’t always get to know the whys.
I know it’s human nature to try and learn ALL the answers, but sometimes we must simply concede to the fact that a lot of life is a mystery, as is the way that God moves and redeems.
We may not get a why. But we know the how: Jesus. In our deepest despair, He’s as close to us as our own breath.
Shall we accept good and not trouble?
No. I will gladly accept both. Because He loves me. Because He knows and desires the best for me. And even if I never understand it, it’s all for my good.