Editor’s note: Lee Walti wrote the following to friends after his wife, Jeannette, gave birth to a stillborn child.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 reminds us that Paul when in his affliction was told by the Lord …

“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul said He was content for Christ’s sake for when he was weak; it was then that he was strong.

Brothers and sisters, as our suffering is for Christ’s sake, so is our contentment. I truly believe that no other attribute of a Christian so sings the gospel than that of contentment. And, in like kind, I’m convinced that no other aspect of our lives so dampens the gospel’s fire like moaning and groaning and complaining about our plight.

Thomas Watson, the great Puritan, once said, “It is our work to cast away care; and it is God’s work to take care. By our immoderacy, we take His work out of His hand. Care, when it is eccentric, either distrustful or distracting, is very dishonorable to God; it takes away His providence, as if He sat in heaven and minded not what became of things here below; like a man that makes a clock, and then leaves it to go for itself.”

What are our trials and suffering for if not to help bring about the oil of His Spirit burning bright in our lives as we turn away from our flesh to the strength of His grace? “God give us trials,” I say “give us suffering.” Dennis Rainey once said to me, “One of the biggest problems with America is that we’re not persecuted.” I agree. We think we know what suffering is but most of us have yet to resist to the point of shedding blood.

Oswald Chambers says in his book, My Utmost for His Highest, “We know nothing about Gethsemane and Calvary in personal experience. Gethsemane and Calvary stand for something unique; they are the gateway into Life for us.”

Christ is the perfect model of suffering for He went to the cross and shed His blood for us that we might be reconciled to Him. In 1 Peter, chapter 2, verse 21-25 says …

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting {Himself} to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

My wife and I have just walked through the most difficult time of our lives to date. My wife said to me recently if you’d told her a year ago that she would give birth to a child who was dead, she’d have told you there was no way she could have done it. We know it’s only by His truth and His Spirit we have been sustained. What has given us our strength, our courage, our peace, our comfort, our contentment and yes, even joy through the death of our child, Gabriella Joy, is our Lord Jesus Christ. And we believe what we’ve been going through is nothing compared to what Christ went through for us.

Our greatest prayer, and our most consistent prayer, during this time is that God would be glorified in and through us. That He would be lifted up. John Piper once said, “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” He also said, “Knowing God more than we know anything else and enjoying God more than we enjoy anything else is the path to displaying God’s glory in the world.”

Gabriella Joy is in heaven. But we, our family, are still here on this earth. We have had and still have an incredible opportunity … to glorify God with all our hearts, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, through this difficult time. That others might see Him and be drawn to Him as a result of our response to His providential hand in our lives. We knew, from the very beginning, that this was the greatest way we would glorify God in this time.

Charles Spurgeon said, “Suppose that by some painful operation, you could have your right arm made a little longer, I do not suppose you would care to undergo the operation; but if you foresaw that, by undergoing the pain, you would be enabled to reach and save drowning men who else would sink before your eyes, I think you would willingly bear the agony, and pay a heavy fee to the surgeon to be thus qualified for the rescue of your fellows.”

We hope, we pray, that our arms have been made a little longer and that by undergoing the pain of this operation, we have been enabled, to a greater degree, to help reach and save drowning men and women who are sinking before our very eyes.

And if any of you wonder where we’ve been taught such things…where we’ve been given such perspective… where we’ve learned to trust in a sovereign God who causes and allows all things to happen and will not cause or allow anything to happen that is not for His glory and our good…it is in His wonderful and glorious Word. And it is through the love, grace and forgiveness loved ones like you have afforded us as you’ve seen us try and fail and repent, and then try again, but this time through faith and God’s grace. It is through this grace, this love, this mercy, God has granted us through you that we’ve been able to have the strength, courage and faith to trust and obey God’s great call to glorify Him through this time.

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