October is the awareness month for a number of organizations and causes: AIDS, child abuse, breast cancer and Down syndrome, just to name a few. The one that a lot of people do not realize is that October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.
I am writing this article on the day that my son was stillborn at 40 weeks; he would be seven years old. It was this day that my world got turned upside down. I would venture a guess that most of us have faced a moment in our lives where our world got turned upside down. As I look at the list of all the organizations that have made October their awareness month, I see a lot of life circumstances that would turn anyone’s world upside down. How do we work through the pain and grief that comes with these life-altering circumstances?
For me, I held and continue to hold on to hope. There are many verses in scripture that encourage us through hard times. Most of these passages communicate a single idea. This idea is also shown to us by the death of Jesus. When we read John’s account of the crucifixion, we get a picture of the destruction that anger, jealousy and hatred can do.
Pilate, the Roman governor, did not see Jesus as a criminal, but the people did. In fact, the crowd wanted Jesus put to death as a criminal. So, Jesus is crucified and buried in a tomb. In this moment, it looked like evil had won, until three days later when Jesus walks out of the tomb. God made a statement that the worst thing is not the last thing. I believe that Psalm 30:5b captures this image: “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (NRSV)
Let me share with you why I continue to hold onto hope. Hope gives us the ability to look forward to something with expectations of fulfillment. I place my hope in what I hear and see in scripture; the idea that the worst thing is not the last thing. If you have had your world turned upside down, may this remind you that even in the darkest of nights, the glorious sun will rise again. And with it, someday, a shout of rejoicing.
Jim Barth is a pastor with First United Methodist Church.