Dear brother and sister in Christ,

Although we haven’t met, God often places you in my thoughts and prayers. My heart is broken for you and your family. I’m so sorry that you have been temporarily parted from your little one. I know your child is safe with him, but I also know you miss your child terribly and long to meet and know him or her. I’m thankful that God will fulfill this longing of yours (and mine for my son Parker) someday.

I can appreciate the confusion you feel (This wasn’t supposed to happen, certainly not again or Why did you allow this, God? You could’ve have prevented my children from dying!), and we do feel cheated when death takes our loved ones, especially when they die so young. But you and I also know the Lord is upholding us and is trustworthy in everything he says and does. We won’t necessarily have all our questions answered here, but we will always have our Father here with us to lead, instruct, comfort, and encourage us. Psalm 68 says that God daily bears our loads (another translation is he daily carries us in his arms). He is doing that for you, dear sister and brother.

He knows what it is to suffer the death of a beloved Son. And the Son knows what it is to suffer in our place—he is the Man of Sorrows, well-acquainted with our grief. And the Holy Spirit is our constant Counselor and Comforter. Our Good Shepherd has given us all that we need.

You’re wondering when you’ll feel better, when the heaviness will lift. I don’t know when your sadness will dissipate, but I know God will sufficiently sustain and help you in each moment. He won’t fail you, not even when it seems your faith is faltering. He won’t let the enemy snatch you from his hand. You are seen by the Lord even when the darkness and sadness of death shrouds you and you feel hidden from God’s view. Even the darkness is light to him (Psalm 139).

You’re quickly discovering how difficult and painful it is to share (over and over) the news of your child’s death with acquaintances who didn’t initially hear of your loss. I am praying for God to pour out his great grace to you. He did that for me in the months following Parker’s death when I encountered acquaintance after acquaintance (at the YMCA, grocery store, church, and so on) who didn’t know he was stillborn and asked with great joy, “So, you had your baby?!”

The Lord gave me grace upon grace to respond with honesty in my sorrow while helping me testify of his saving love to Parker and his great comfort to us. It was awkward at times, but God made it easier than it otherwise would have been. He will help you too. He goes before you to prepare others to hear your sorrowful news, and he comes behind to help comfort you and them, and relieve the awkwardness.

You are constantly upheld in prayer—the Holy Spirit is praying for you with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8). I will continue to pray for you too.

I want to encourage you not to rush through your mourning, but to submit to the grace of God as you wrestle and weep and wait. The Lord will keep you moment by moment, day by day, month by month, year by year. My heart didn’t begin to feel free of the overwhelming sadness of losing Parker until just after his first birthday. But like I said before, I don’t know when that time will be for you. I’m asking the Lord to give you courage and help you trust him each moment of each new day.

I have been comforted by the hope we have as believers for resurrection and new life, when Christ returns to raise us up and make everything new. He will wipe away our tears, and there will be no more death, or sorrow, or crying or pain, because all of these things are gone forever (Rev. 21). I pray that you are overwhelmed by this encouraging reality too. We have hope that will never be disappointed.

May our Father continue to comfort you in every longing for your child. May you be convinced that he is with you, and he will always be enough. May you rest assured that he will keep on comforting you and holding you. Take heart, dear ones. The Lord will soon turn your mourning into joyful dancing.  He will take away your clothes of mourning and clothe you with joy, that you might sing praises to him and not be silent (Psalm 30).