Question Submitted: I don’t know what to say to my friend who recently miscarried. It seems like what one person finds comforting, another person finds offensive.
I do not have the perfect answer to this question, nor do I know what words will fully comfort every woman who has ever endured such a crisis, but I can offer you a few practical suggestions:
1. Make sure her pastor knows what is going on, so that he can go to her and minister to her.
2. Pray for her.
3. Be there. Share in her loss as faithfully as you would in her joy. If she wants to be alone, respect her privacy and seek her out the next day. And the next. And the next.
4. Listen to her. Acknowledge her miscarriage (barrenness) for exactly what it is – a heinous, horrible reality – and be careful not to try to “explain it away.” Her grief and pain are too present to be put in a box. Let her freely lament, for lamentation has always been a part of the Christian life.
5. Tend to the immediate, physical needs of her family. Do they have food to eat? Do they need daycare? Does anyone need a ride to doctors’ appointments? Etc.
6. If given the opportunity to speak words of comfort to her, remember this: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Colossians 3:16) Speak the Word of God to her, remind her of God’s promises to her in Jesus, and sing words of hope and comfort. I personally find Psalms 6, 30, 40, 123, 130, and 138 comforting, and my husband often sings the following hymns to me in my grief: LSB 760 “What God Ordains Is Always Good,” LSB 754 “Entrust Your Days and Burdens,” and LSB 756 “Why Should Cross and Trial Grieve Me.”
(A note of warning: Whenever we are given the opportunity to say something to someone else who is suffering, most of us tend to say the thing that would most comfort ourselves. It is almost as if we can’t help but project our own sense of order onto another person’s chaos – and barrenness and miscarriage are definitely situations of chaos and crisis. I strongly advise you to carefully guard your friend from your own sense of order and let her faith, instead, respond to the Word of God. In other words, carefully guard your friend from yourself.)
7. And, finally, should you say something that angers her in her grief, apologize to her and let it go. Forgive yourself and forgive her, and keep coming back to her, seventy times seven times.