A Broken Hallelujah: Not afraid of Bad News
by Elizabeth Eno, Guest Writer
The news about our little girl came just as we were finishing up a wonderful summer vacation so we were not at our home in Florida. Though that made our circumstances more difficult on some levels, we felt God’s mercy and grace in delaying our homeward trip. Rather than my family learning through a phone call that their little granddaughter’s heart had stopped beating, we would soon feel their arms around us as we cried together, but telling them was so painful.
We went into the kitchen where my dad was cleaning up lunch dishes. My sister Natalie was playing with our 15-month-old daughter, Lily. My throat tight with tears, I could not speak. Jason shared the news, “There was no heartbeat.”
I walked over to my Dad and he took a deep breath, and just hugged me for a while. I cried and he held on to me, saying, “I’m so sorry.” I turned and hugged Natalie and cried some more.
Both Jason and I looked at Lily who was as happy as could be, and we smothered her in hugs and kisses. Thankfulness that overflowed us at the miracle of Lily, mixed with the stinging realization that our first daughter would never know the joy of this little sister.
Frantic phone calls to my mom brought her racing home. We hugged and cried. Somehow I wanted to comfort my mother and said words I knew were not true and yet true, “It’s fine…our baby is ok, everything is going to be fine.”
At that moment, I thought that if I said those words, I could will away the truth. I was in no physical pain; it was not obvious to me in any way that my baby was not breathing. If something was wrong, wouldn’t I feel it inside?
Jason called his parents. They had been waiting for his call and were expecting him to tell them if they were going to have a new grandson or granddaughter. How difficult it was for him to tell them what we had been told. Though miles separated us, grief pulled us together.
What do we do when we hear bad news? What do we do when we have to tell someone else information we know they don’t want to hear? My response to the doctor’s words was resistance and confusion. How could this be happening? I was also desperate for a solution. How can we fix this?
The psalmist reminds us that when our confidence is in the Lord, bad news will not shake us. Does that mean we will not react with sorrow, grief, disappointment, anguish when bad news slams us? What does it mean that we will not be moved when we trust in the Lord? When the stormy ocean of grief or bad news hammers on us, when we are confused and terrified by the uncertainty of the next minutes, we can cling to this promise. That the Lord will not let go of His child, no matter the strength of the storm. Though I had no other answers, God’s Word taught me that in seasons of pain, His presence is enough. This experience of hearing the worst news I have ever heard continues to grow my faith and challenges me to dig into His Word more so that when these life-altering situations come, there is a foundation of truth from which to respond. Though I bend like a tree in a hurricane, He holds me tightly in His grip, perhaps whispering words similar to the ones I whispered to my mother, “It’s fine, your baby is with Me, you’re going to be fine. I am with you.”
Have you received bad news recently? If so, ask the Lord to help you put your confidence in Him. If you haven’t received bad news, prepare yourself now for whatever may come by rooting yourself in the promises of His Word. Then, when you hear something you wish wasn’t true, those promises will encourage you to trust in the One who is holding you. Write down Psalm 112:6-7 in your journal or on a 3x5 card and place it on your bathroom mirror to serve as a daily motivator to trust in the Lord and read His Word, and an encouragement that He will hold you firm when bad news comes.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Eno has worked for Wycliffe Bible Translators since 2004. She initially lived in South Asia facilitating Chronological Bible storytelling projects for more than 18 Bibleless people groups. Today, Elizabeth serves as Wycliffe's Volunteer & Intern Placement Team Leader. Elizabeth currently lives in Florida with her husband, Jason, and their 18-month-old daughter, Lily. In her free time, Elizabeth enjoys being with her family and especially likes watching Lily learn and experience the world for the first time! Elizabeth writes periodically at www.elizabethstories.blogspot.com. Elizabeth's writings about her infertility and miscarriage journey can be found here: www.itisaprocess.wordpress.com.
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