Dealing with unexpected losses

Some years ago, my wife and I wrote an article for CCEF’s Journal of Biblical Counseling entitled, “The Bible and the Pain of Infertility.” Of all my published writings, this article has garnered the most responses from readers. I don’t think it is because it is so well written as much as it touches many where they most hurt. Even though the article is about infertility, readers have commented that they found it related to their loss of a loved one, the unexpected loss of a career, a chronic disease.

Not that long ago I was asked to review a chapter manuscript on pastoral care of infertile couples. I was shocked to learn that he could find no serious work (than ours) attempting to think pastorally about infertility. Not sure he is right but it probably means we need more on the topic.

I say all this because CCEF has put the article up for free on the top of their homepage. Click here for their homepage. Click the image at the top of their page and it should take you to the full text article.

Enjoy. Pass it on to others you think might benefit, especially those who suffer in secret.


Filed under "phil monroe", biblical counseling, CCEF, christian counseling, christian psychology, Christianity, counseling, Doctrine/Theology

4 responses to “Dealing with unexpected losses

  1. autoimmunelife

    I wanted to thank you for your article. I did however want to disagree with you on one thing… you say in the beginning of it (when comparing it to chronic illness) that “A person with a chronic disease or terminal illness gets support from all those around them. But to a couple struggling with
    infertility, these same people offer platitudes.” which, as someone with both infertility and a bunch of chronic illnesses I must say isn’t true. The part about platitudes for infertility is true… the part about chronic illnesses getting support from all around them most definitely is not. We get anger from people being angry that we aren’t working, we get misunderstanding, we get “But you don’t know look sick”, and a common one (I’m nearly 25) is “But you are too young to be so sick”….. I’d say as far as support goes for each… they get about the same amount.

    • J, thanks for your comments. We wrote this a number of years ago and I can tell you I would have written that sentence differently now. You are absolutely right. Some chronic illnesses get more attention than others. Autoimmune disorders do not get much attention and when they do, it is commonly just as you say, in the form of anger or disdain.

      Thanks for making that insight!

      • autoimmunelife

        Oh, ok… I wasn’t sure if that was still how you saw it or not, so did want to inform you. Thank you very much for the response. 🙂

  2. As one who went through the heartach of infertility for 8 years, I know firsthand the emotional roller coaster that couples go on with this. This struggle that many couples face is only going to increase as an issue in the church. With the average of first marriage increasing to 33 for women and 37 for men, infertility will only become more of an issue in the coming years. In the old testament infertility was a sign of the absence of God’s blessing and something disgraceful. While that’s not so much true that in the church today, still most people not dealing with this challenge don’t think about the struggle of infertile couples– mush as they don’t think about the impact on those who struggle with chronic illnesses. Maybe that’s because, we’re just perplexed about both of these situations. Our unspopken question is, “Why would this be?” Perhaps both of these, then, would be important ministry opportunities, via small support group structures, for churches to offer. I know that I’m involved in a men’s small group of about 12 men where at least 1/3 are impacted by spouses dealing with chronic illness, but feel shamed about talking about it. I suspect that would be true for, husbands, especially, dealing with infertility as well.

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