By Jennifer Carson
Have you ever asked yourself, “Is God punishing me for something in my past? Did He take my baby away because…?” It may be a relationship that went sour, perhaps a sin we feel is unforgivable like adultery or perhaps an abortion in your past. There are many situations we may believe have not been completely forgiven, so when something tragic happens… we ask ourselves “Is God punishing me?” After all, isn’t He a just God Who punishes and holds us accountable for our sins?
He is. But He is also a merciful and forgiving Father. Scripture consistently teaches that when we turn back to Him, He forgives us and remembers our sins no more. In Isaiah 43:25, God says “I am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more”. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, through the blood shed on the cross we are forgiven for our sins. God remembers them no more. Jesus received our punishment. The debt we owed for our sins has been paid in full. Hebrews 10:11-18 says, “Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when this Priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, He sat down at the right hand of God. Since that time He waits for His enemies to be made His footstool, because by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First He says, ‘This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I’ll write them on their minds’. Then He adds, ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more’”. No further sacrifice is required for our sins because of what happened on the cross. God will never judge us again for the sins He has already forgiven.
Discipline or chastisement is another issue. God will discipline His children because He loves us. However, any discipline we receive is always to teach us and protect us in our present and future, never to condemn our past.
There is a story in the book of John where the disciples see a blind man from birth. They ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Couldn’t we ask the same question, “Rabbi, who sinned, this baby’s parents, that he was taken away from them?” Jesus’ response was “Neither this man or his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.” Perhaps His response to us would also be, “Neither of this baby’s parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in their lives”. God doesn’t make mistakes. He is a merciful god who deeply loves His children. Sometimes I think that’s the hardest part to grasp. If we truly believe He loves us as much as He says He does and that we are worthy of all He has for us, then we don’t fall into the trap of doubting and questioning His motives. He has a purpose for our lives and our babies’ lives. When we can receive His love and believe with all our heart that He wants the best for us, we can rest in knowing He is in control and trust that He has a plan bigger and better than we can even imagine. His greatest desire is that He would be displayed in our lives. As we draw close to Him, through our pain and suffering, His love begins to heal us for His glory.
Grieving the loss of a child is hard enough without adding the guilt of blaming yourself. God isn’t punishing you for your past. He loves you and sees your future. He knows what’s best for you in the present, even though it may be painful. He promises to never you nor forsake you. If you will take His hand and walk with Him, He is faithful and will show you the way. He will uphold you with His righteous right hand.