A Letter to the Grieving Father
By: Eric Schumacher
Dear Grieving Father,
My heart breaks to know that your child died. I am so sorry.
Nothing I can say will take away the pain of this loss. I won't try. Instead, I want to give you permission to experience all the feelings accompanying the death of a child, born or unborn.
You may grieve because you lost a child. I say this especially for the father grieving miscarriage. Life in the womb is mostly unseen. This might make your loss confusing. You never saw or touched your living child. You may wonder, Have I really lost a baby?
In the Gospel of Luke, pregnant Mary visits her pregnant aunt, Elizabeth. "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped inside her.” Later, after Jesus was born, an angel tells some shepherds, "You will find a baby wrapped tightly in cloth and lying in a manger.” The same word used for what was in Elizabeth's belly is used for what was in the manger—baby. If it is right to grieve a death in a cradle, it is right to mourn a death in the womb.
You may grieve because the world is broken. God did not create the world as a place where babies die. The Lord created it as a place where babies would be born and thrive. Death entered the world through sin and spread to everyone. Now, we die and return to dust—some in old age, some in youth, some in the womb. The pain you feel is the sting of death, a reminder that we live in a world that needs to be redeemed. The world isn’t supposed to be this way. So, we weep.
You may grieve because hope is delayed. Both pregnancy and childbirth bring anticipation—first words, first steps, first days of school, first jobs. Miscarriage and infant and child loss end those dreams for that baby. It can make us wonder if there will ever be another baby. Scripture says, “Hope delayed makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Waiting in uncertainty is its own death. You may even wonder how you'll ever go on living.
Our delayed hope is not only for children—it is for life itself. We live in a broken world, in broken bodies, where death is very real. We need someone to save us, to undo death in the womb and in the tomb. The good news is there is someone who will.
Jesus Christ came to undo the curse and give us life. He took on human nature to live in our place, experiencing every pain and temptation but without sin. Despite his sinlessness, he died under the penalty of sin. He died for our sin, in our place. God raised him from the dead to show that Jesus satisfied justice, disarmed Satan, and conquered death.
Regardless of who we are or what we’ve done, when we call on Jesus to save us, God forgives our sin and promises us eternal life. One day, Jesus will resurrect his people, giving us glorious bodies in which we will enjoy life with him in a new world. That future is our “blessed hope.”
Miscarriage and infant and child loss are painful reminders that our blessed hope has not yet arrived. It is right to weep over the delay of a good thing. It’s promised but it’s not here—the waiting hurts. But to remember that Jesus has not yet returned is to remember that he will return. We do not grieve like people without hope. We grieve like people who have hope—the certainty of a returning Rescuer.
So, friend, please grieve—and grieve deeply. Grieve as one who knows the sting of death in the loss of a child. Grieve as one who feels that the world is broken. But do not grieve as though grief is all you will ever know. Grieve as one whose tears represent both pain over what is now and longing for what is to come. Because the day is coming when "he will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; grief, crying, and pain will be no more, because the previous things have passed away.”
Yours in sorrow and in hope,
 Luke 1:41. All scripture quotations are from the Christian Standard Bible.  Luke 2:12  Genesis 1:28  Romans 5:12  Genesis 3:19  Proverbs 13:12  Titus 2:13  1 Thessalonians 4:13-18  Revelation 21:1-5
ERIC SCHUMACHER is a pastor, author, and songwriter. He is the author of Ours: Biblical Comfort for Men Grieving Miscarriage (The Good Book Company, 2022), the novella My Last Name (Eric Schumacher, 2021), and co-author of Worthy (Bethany House Publishers, 2020) and Jesus & Gender (Kirkdale Press, 2022) with Elyse Fitzpatrick. Eric received his MDiv from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He lives in Iowa with his wife and five children. Learn more at emschumacher.com or follow Eric on Instagram or Twitter.