Jesus endured the cross. Jesus endured the cross. He didn't grumble through it. He didn't complain about it. He wasn't angry about it. He didn't curse God for it. He didn't lose faith because of it. He endured so beautifully the most tortuous of deaths known to mankind because of one thing: the joy that was set before Him.
I don't know about you, but I would love the same to be said of me.
Becky, who for the joy that was set before her, endured multiple miscarriages.
You see, I think the greatest example we have of "how" to suffer is Jesus Christ himself. We can look to Him and see how to behave, how to believe and how to think when we are suffering ourselves. Being like Christ in suffering should be our ultimate goal, and though we will never be perfect as He was, His example to us cannot be ignored, but must be emulated.
You may wonder just what was the joy that was set before Him that helped Him endure such pain and suffering even unto death? I can think of 3 "joys" that were before Him, though I'm sure there were more than these:
1. The joy of submitting to and obeying the Father's will. Ultimately, Jesus wanted nothing more than the Father's will for His life. We saw this so beautifully unfold in the garden of Gethsemane when Jesus prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39) In dying upon the cross, Jesus fulfilled the Father's will completely, and this brought peace and joy to His heart. In the same way, when we lose a baby to miscarriage, or are faced with any trial, we can be assured that God is the one who has allowed this into our life, and by accepting it into our life, we are submitting to the Father's will. There is joy in knowing and submitting to the will of the Father, without grumbling or complaining. We can buck against it all we want, but ultimately, our joy will only come when we rest in the Father's hands and in His will.
2. The joy of the Father's exaltation and glory. As Jesus was facing the cross, he looked past that event and saw an end result: the glory of God. He knew that if He was obedient unto death, God the Father would be exalted higher and be given more glory than if he didn't suffer. Just think of the billions of souls that would be saved because of Christ's obedience on the cross. Those souls are giving God all of the glory for their salvation from sin and death. We too can look past our pain and suffering in losing our baby, and see that God will receive more glory because of our suffering. Ultimately, because God has chosen this path for our baby, He has one more soul in heaven bringing Him honor and glory. As believers, we long to see God receive the glory that is due His name, and the loss of our baby will result in His glory. This is a joy that is set before us.
3. The joy of a future in heaven. Heaven is joy. It is pure joy, not anything like the happiness of this world. In a sermon on what heaven will be like, John MacArthur says heaven is "a place of unmixed and unending joy". Christ could see this, and knew that His death would allow for many to enjoy His heaven too. When we lose a baby to miscarriage, there is a joy set before us. It is the joy that we will one day be able to see and know our baby because of Christ's work on the cross. It is the joy of knowing that our baby is with God in heaven right now. It is the joy of knowing heaven is a reality for us as believers as well as for our baby. Heaven, though it may seem intangible now, is a tangible joy that we have to look forward to. I can almost see the glorious reunion with my five babies now!
These joys are how we can endure miscarriage. In fact, they are how we can endure any hardship or trial that life presents to us. We must realize that our joy comes from a much deeper place than just our circumstances. It is based in and on our relationship with Jesus Christ - just as His joy came from His relationship with His Father. So with that I charge you:
Look to Jesus. Look to the joy that is set before you. Endure miscarriage.
By God's grace, you can!!