For the past seven weeks I have been participating in a Grief Group Bible study at our church. The study is not yet over, but I have learned so many things. The study uses the book "Holding on to Hope" by Nancy Guthrie. The focus is the book of Job as well as other Scripture. I've enjoyed the daily Bible study, the discussions at group, and the book.
Through this study God has revealed truth in His Word, brought conviction for sin in my heart, and provided comfort with the other believers in the group. I've hesitated writing about these truths and lessons I have learned and am learning, questioning the value of publicly sharing personal details and possible injury to my pride. However, I hope it brings glory to God, not making me look any better. I want God to be glorified in the life and death of my daughter, and He can be glorified in what He has done in my heart following her precious life. So, here we go.
One question that has pricked the back of my mind occasionally since July 31, 2010 when Lydia's heartbeat could not be found was "is this punishment from God?". It is common to wonder if suffering and loss are some kind of punishment and I felt there was better reason in the case of my husband and I for this to indeed be punitive. We had been engaged five months when I became pregnant with Lydia. Clearly, sex outside of marriage is a sin. Despite our pastor lovingly informing us at Lydia's funeral that her death was in no way punitive, in the back of my mind for the past seven months have had my doubts and questions. Even the biblical example of King David came to mind. His child born to him from adultery (sin) died.
Thanks to the death of Jesus on the cross, He took all the punishment and blame for all my sin. God's wrath and the punishment I deserve is no longer on me because Jesus took it. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Cor. 5:21). "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:1). I am under God's mercy and love. "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace, in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Rom 5:1-2).
Though I had been told Lydia's death was not punishment, I still doubted until God revealed these truths to me why her death was not punitive. Praise God!