Inheritance of Tears
March 12, 2015
This book is long overdue.
I have never suffered through the tragedy of a miscarriage, but a number of women I love have. I am so glad that Jessalyn Hutto has written a book for all those who have been affected by the loss of an unborn child. Her goal is to help the reader “see the unique trial of miscarriage within the broader context of God’s plan” (86).
CruciformPress is a great publisher for this kind of book. They publish short, concise books that are around 100 pages on important topics facing the church today. I find that I often recommend their books as a “gateway” for those who aren’t typically readers because CruciformPress books are attractive, trustworthy, and unintimidating. And I would think the last thing you would want to give a woman grieving the loss of her unborn child is an academic tome to try and explain away their pain.
Hutto does no such thing. In fact, she wants to confirm how tragic miscarriage is. “Few people understand the pain a woman feels when she learns that he unborn baby has died” (51). Jessalyn Hutto does. She shares her own experience of two miscarriages and offers the reader the fruit that has come from her pain.
Miscarriage shouldn’t be. Something has gone horribly wrong. And so Hutto begins the book with the very real pain that may feel impossible to bear. She says something very wise about coping with this pain: “Women don’t need empty platitudes or frivolous advice when their babies die: they need God and his Word!” (12). So that is what Hutto gives. It always amazes me how often we need to go back to Genesis with the deep questions in life, and it is no different with a miscarriage. Hutto takes the reader there, explaining, “The Bible gives us the only satisfactory explanation for the existence of such tragedies and our natural inclinations to grieve them” (19).
In this little book, Hutto also addresses the difficulty of trusting God’s goodness and even embracing God’s sovereignty when your own child’s life is taken from your womb. Your theology, what you know to be true about God, will direct the way you respond in tragedy. And so she affirms from Scripture the goodness, the loving kindness, and absolute power of our God in all circumstances. And she points the reader to Jesus Christ, who is “no stranger to suffering” (55). With a beautiful presentation of the gospel, Hutto gives “three ways in which Jesus can relate to---and therefore perfectly comfort---the woman who has miscarried” (59). I don’t want to sum these up in a short review, because I think it is more meaningful to read through Hutto’s offering here in the context of the whole chapter and book.
Maybe you had a little gut-check when I mentioned the fruit that has come from Hutto’s pain. This book is certainly a fruit that will help many, but the author insists that God will produce good even out of miscarriage. The death of an unborn child is not random and “sorrow isn’t without purpose” (82). She reminds the reader that “we do have the joy of knowing that we do not suffer for a moment outside of our God’s loving and perfect will” (70). And again, Hutto gives us the theology of who our God is, before applying it with some noticeable ways the Lord may be using even miscarriage for the spiritual good of his people.
Hutto explains that the title of her book comes from a devotion from Susannah Spurgeon. Mrs. Spurgeon “proposed that ‘tears are the inheritance of the earth’s children’ because, as Romans 3:23 informs us, ‘all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.’ Any woman whose womb has been visited by death and has had to say goodbye to her precious baby can readily accept Mrs. Spurgeon’s poetic phrasing” (21). But Hutto assures us that we are not left in despair. And neither does Mrs. Spurgeon’s devotion: “’Tears may, and must come, but if they gather in the eyes that are constantly looking up to [God] and heaven, they will glisten with the brightness of coming glory’” (33).
You may pick up this book with a devastating experience in our inheritance of tears. Hutto makes sure to acknowledge those tears, but doesn’t leave you there. She points you to the One who works even through our own tears so that they will glisten with the brightness of his coming glory.