Far as the curse is found (a review): Grief and hope on Mother’s Day

May 12, 2017

“If I could be anything in the world, I would be a mother.” -Abigail Waldron, third grade

David Platt, whose family struggled with infertility, has said, “There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never comes.” Infertility is a topic that people discuss very little, but I’ve read as many as one in eight couples struggle with it. While that number may sound very high, I imagine if you combine it with the number of couples who experience some other sort of reproductive loss, it would be even higher, making reproductive loss one of women’s most painful and hidden griefs.

Life is valuable. We see this each time God chooses to bring a new baby into the world, and we marvel in wonder at his goodness and kindness in giving us these tiny little miracles. God has entrusted women with the very important role of being life-givers. And this matters, because life matters. Abigail Waldron, author of Far as the Curse Is Found: Searching for God in Infertility, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth, knows this well. She also understands the pain that comes when children don’t come as quickly as one had hoped and the deep grief of losing a baby—her daughter, Avaleen Hope—through miscarriage at 15 weeks.

About the book

In effort to reconcile the God she’s known since childhood with her disappointment and grief, Abigail took the year after her miscarriage and interviewed 11 families who have also suffered some type of reproductive loss. These include families:

Abigail wanted to see how God has met them in their pain, and in the process, she was hopeful that God would meet her in her own pain. Her story and how she processed her own grief is intertwined within each of the interviews. Abigail hoped her book would be able to serve as a sort of community for those who are hurting and to help them feel less alone in their pain, but most of all, she is hopeful it will help others find glimpses of God, who is mysteriously present in our deepest darkness.

Abigail writes from a real and raw perspective. It’s easy to appreciate her honesty and vulnerability. Grief is deeply painful, and Abigail willingly lets you see glimpses of her heart as she struggles through the questions, “Why would a good God allow such painful suffering? How can his presence be felt and trusted in the face of such great anguish?” Throughout the book Abigail continually reminds herself of the truth of God’s Word in the midst of her intense pain and struggle.

4 common themes

As I poured over each interview, there were several common, helpful themes I noticed:

  1. God’s sovereignty: Reading through each of these interviews, I noticed many of the families had to come to terms with the fact that we have no control over our fertility. Brian and Linda’s story in chapter five so beautifully illustrates this. “. . . with God, there isn’t an alternative reality.” They trust God’s control over their family: “The story we live is the story God wrote for us . . . God doesn’t have a plan B for building families.” They affirm that “infertility might be a surprise to us, but it’s not to God.”
  2. You can choose joy: We’re all different. We all respond to pain and grief differently, and that is okay. In this book, you’ll see how people grieved their losses differently, and how sometimes men and women have different ways in processing their pain. No matter how different we may be, we can all choose to fight for joy. Joy is always a choice, and we can trust God to work in and through our suffering to make us more joyful in Christ. At the end of chapter five, Abigail writes, “There is mystery in God’s ways and sovereignty that we will never understand. . .We cannot understand. We cannot control. . . God works in and through suffering to bring mysterious joy. . . It helps in this season of not knowing. . .to be reminded that God wins, that redemption triumphs, that there will be a day, in eternity if not now, when we will see clearly that all of this struggle and loss was indeed somehow God’s strange and mysterious gift.”
  3. We can trust God: We don’t know our future, but God does. God knows it and plans it. God is in every detail. He knows how every part of our life will work together, and his plans are good. In the midst of our pain, if we can remember God is good and kind, then we’ll be able to trust him to write our story, even if he writes it differently than we would have chosen.
  4. Life is really about our relationship with Jesus: As much as we we’d like to think that if God would just answer our prayer for a child, we’d always be happy, and our longing would be satisfied, it just isn’t true. Yes, children bring joy and happiness, but they can never be the absolute focus of it without becoming idols. Jesus is meant for that place in our hearts and our lives. He must be the ultimate treasure of our hearts. In chapter 12, Bethany so beautifully reminds us of this as she says, “I guess redemption always comes out of loss . . . Our only hope is Christ. It is not in becoming a mom. It’s not in becoming a family. It’s not in becoming a son or a daughter. It’s not anything that you gain in this life that matters. It’s your relationship with Christ.”

Martin Luther said, “Even a weak faith may lay hold of a strong Christ.”


As a woman who has experienced reproductive loss myself in the form of unexplained infertility, I would wholeheartedly recommend Abigail’s book to other women. You may not completely relate to her struggle with a year of infertility and miscarriage, but chances are, you can relate to one of the other families interviewed in the book. In this book, you’ll see how these families came to see God and rest in him during their pain and suffering.

If you’re currently struggling with some sort of reproductive loss, let me encourage you with what Martin Luther said, “Even a weak faith may lay hold of a strong Christ.” You may want to pick up Abigail’s book to discover you might not be as alone in your pain as you think.

Jana Howerton

Jana is a graduate of Western Kentucky University with a Bachelors in Communication Disorders. Her husband Josh is the Lead Pastor of The Bridge Church, and they have adopted two precious daughters, Eliana and Felicity. Read More by this Author

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24