It was my husband’s birthday, and Christian, our second baby, was just short of four months old, and we were looking forward to celebrating later that evening.  It was my first time leaving our baby with our babysitter since birth.  She was a medical doctor who stayed at home to raise her own children.  I received a call that is every parent’s worst nightmare.  Our babysitter communicated to me that she put Christian down for a nap, but he didn’t wake up.  The ambulance had been called, and I needed to meet the ambulance at the hospital.

Parents who have experienced this or similar situations know the horrors that ensue.  Our baby was soon pronounced dead, and it was determined to be SIDS.  How could this be?  Our pediatrician held him up just two weeks earlier and said he was the healthiest baby she had seen.  We had pictures taken just the day before, and he was full of life.  My husband and I were told when we were engaged that we would never have children.  How could a loving God allow this to happen to us?  How could He allow this to happen to anyone?

We got home from the emergency room, and family, church, and friends started pouring in.  While people had good intentions, we were told some horrible things.  My closest friend at the time even stated something about “survival of the fittest” that afternoon.  Furthermore, we did some research and saw one statistic that said that 90% of all couples divorce within a year of losing a child.  My husband strongly reassured me we would not be part of that statistic.

The following weeks and months were some of my life’s most difficult times, from having to plan a graveside service to attending friend’s birthday parties with children the same age as our son.  I had expectations that my parents and sister would bring comfort to our family.  In fact, their actions were quite the opposite.  My sister and her husband even told us only two months after he passed that he was only four months old and that we “needed to get over it.”

Finally, my husband and I decided to attend a support group for SIDS families.  We were shocked that the families in attendance had all lost their babies years before.  It didn’t seem that there had been any movement forward in their healing.  Again, my husband and I left discouraged.

It was only when my husband and I turned to the Lord, and the Lord alone, did we find any healing.  Our healing and comfort was in Christ alone, not in man.  I know this is the “Sunday School” answer, but it is true.  We started searching the scriptures to help determine if our baby was, in fact, in heaven.  While the Bible doesn’t speak directly to this, we found comfort in the account of King David’s child.  David stated in 2 Samuel 12:23, “But now he is dead.  Why should I fast?  Can I bring him back again?  I shall go to him, but he will not return to me.”  Our understanding was that King David would one day join his son again.

We also considered Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  While seeing the good when walking through such a trial is hard, we trusted God.

James 1:2-4 told us to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let that steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  Again, we had to trust God.  We chose to trust that He was working to grow us.  We chose to trust that this had happened for God’s glory and our good.  This is the complete antithesis of what our hearts were telling us.  However, we saw so many ways the Lord was using our trial to share the Gospel.  Our grief opened many doors to share with others who were hurting about the love of Christ during our sorrows.  God was so faithful in showing us that our healing came from Him alone.  We needed to fix our eyes on Him and what He was doing in and through us.

As my husband and I reflect on this trial from 20 years ago, we are truly grateful.  Yes, I mean that.  While I still cry on occasion, I am thankful for this trial.  We praise Him for all the wonderful things He has done in our lives and those we minister to.  It has given me the ability to minister to countless women who have lost their babies.  The Lord also used this trial to “wake us up,” as we were very lukewarm when Christian passed.  We have seen the Lord work through this trial to produce good fruit in our own hearts and others.  While nobody enjoys trials, I praise God, for I can now see how He has used this for His glory and our benefit.

I look forward to spending eternity with my son, worshiping at the feet of Christ!