It has been 2 years since Ashley and I lost our first baby. In just 2 years it is amazing how vastly different our lives are. Our lives were pretty dark and seemed quite hopeless in January of 2010 and now our life radiates with the life and joy of a little 8 month old boy. With that being said though, even though joy and hope are more evident in our life now, the memory of the pain we endured in losing Elliott is still there.
Our church is offering a midweek class taught by Dr. Chad Meister on the topic of "God and the Problem of Pain and Suffering". I went to the first class last week and appreciated the perspective Dr. Meister shared with the class. In particular the passage in Romans 5 which talks about rejoicing in our suffering because it will produce perseverance and then perseverance, character and character, hope. Dr. Meister talked about how with suffering our character is formed into people who are becoming more like Jesus Christ. As I reflect over the last two years, I see the work of God forming me. I care more, I pray more, and I understand Romans 12:15 which says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn." My life used to be centered around me (and it probably is still more than it should), but now my eyes have been opened to how to care for others in some of their darkest times, and for that I am thankful.
I placed some flowers on Elliott's little grave this morning and I assumed I would be filled with sorrow, but although saddened by the life of a little baby I never knew, I had a sense of peace and hope for a new tomorrow and the promises God gives us. I am thankful for the journey God has taken me on in the past two years. Although I know that life with still have its ups and downs, the promise that God is with me through the dark valleys is something I am incredibly thankful for.