Only a Part of the Picture

Only a part of the picture:  a story of miscarriage and learning to trust God
The more we let go of our concepts and images which always limit God, the bigger God grows and the more we approach the mystery of his indefinability. When we overlook the dissimilarity, we begin to speak with obnoxious familiarity about the Holy, make ludicrous comments such as “I could never imagine God doing such a thing,” calmly predict Armageddon, glibly proclaim infallible discernment of the will of God, trimming the claws of the Lion of Judah. -Brennan Mannning, Ruthless Trust

That previous story about me as a little kid, trying to walk on water, blaming my inability to do so on my lack of faith is funny, but unfortunately, I held onto some wrong ideas about God, long after, the result of which led to some tremendous pain.  I don’t want to tell this next story- but I will, because out of the pain came something beautiful.   

My husband and I lost a baby during pregnancy thirteen years ago.  I went to what I thought was a regular doctor’s check-up, only to find out that my baby didn’t have a heartbeat.  That was heartbreaking by itself.  But I never miscarried the baby on my own.   I needed surgery.  There were a few days in between the bad news and the surgery, and these were the darkest days of my life, full of guilt.  An added element of pain was that we had listened to some wrong teaching about faith and healing in the year’s prior.  What I wanted was to pray for healing, go back to the doctor a few days later, and have him tell me that my baby now had a heartbeat.  I somehow believed that healing was just a matter of having enough faith.  Except I knew that I didn’t have enough faith.  And for that, I felt guilty.  Submitting to the surgery felt like an admission of defeat.  When I was relieved to have it over with, I felt guilty for that too.  My eyes weren’t on Jesus.  They were focused inward, on my inability to muster up enough faith to believe that my baby would be healed.


I was demanding and lacked trust.   I was angry, mostly with myself, but also at God.   I wanted to know why it happened.  But he met me where I was at and loved me anyway.  I will never forget.  It was a couple of weeks after the surgery and I was driving, listening to the radio.  A song by Steven Curtis Chapman came on, and a repeated refrain of it said, “God is God, and I am not.  I can only see a part of the picture he’s painting.”

This was one of those times when a piece of knowledge, I had long held in my head, moved from there, to deep inside my heart.  I can’t really explain the difference, other than became a truth that I knew beyond any shadow of doubt.   The need to question, to know why, was gone, replaced by a peace and an assurance of God’s love and forgiveness.  I trusted, and it wasn’t something I mustered up on my own.  I believe the Holy Spirit used the words from that song to speak to me in just the way I needed to hear at that moment.   That’s when I began to heal, and like a broken bone that’s stronger after the break heals, so am I.   

I now understand more about trusting God, about faith and healing.  I believe God can and does heal, but not always on this side of heaven.  And I know that I need to let go of my concepts and images that limit God.  I simply trust- and I even need help with that.  I keep my eyes on Jesus.  God is a mystery, but I do know that he is love, and that he is good.  I’ll write more about that next time.    

Here's the video from that song....