Sorrow and joy...in unequal parts and at unpredictable intervals. This undulating pattern comprises much of our lives. Solomon examined this reality a few milennia ago in Ecclesiastes.
It seems clear, but not always noted, that far less ink is spilt on the mountain tops of earthly experience than on the valleys...the nadirs, not the zeniths, spur more contemplation, it would seem. We think we 'deserve' to be happy; we often don't understand when we're not.
Maybe that's because joy, and it's lesser cousin, happiness, are the objects of desire and pursuit...almost everyone seeks them, at least at times. The responses elicited by Good Things are no-brainers; but few crave heartache. It takes a while to go through the acknowledge-accept-resolve process provoked by pain.
Perhaps this is an echo of our desire for How Things Were...back in the Garden, when all was as it had been created to be. Now, we have to wait to be 'present with the Lord' to experience that.
There's a place for grieving and tears...and it's a place we return to again and again, if not willingly. Devastation of many kinds may roll in unexpectedly, like a tsumani that threatens to take us under. It may loom on the horizon, and then inexorably advance upon us as we watch and wait helplessly. Or, it may be a persistent series of defeats posed by a challenge we can't master...
But whatever the source or shape sadness, like everything else down here, it is temporary. We should acknowledge and grieve, but I don't think we should camp there after we've done the necessary processing.
Pardon? This from the ambassodoress of emotional expression? Well, yes. I'm not advocating denial, just a God-designed balance.
When my tears fall, it is often because I am more focused on the object of my prayer than on the One Who Answers. And it's important to make that shift in focus from the horizontal to the vertical. Looking to Jesus is where we find Real Life, anyway.
Being a leaky faucet, tears have always come (too) easily to me. I can find occasion to weep not only over heartache, but also in gratitude for God's faithfulness and character. Whether the cause is joy or sadness, tears are not wholly unexpected from time to time.
But peace and serenity are. Especially when they seem to be incongruous to the present context. That's when people notice. That's when they either think you're dissociative or intriguing...and they look more closely.
And it's at such times, I'm thinking, when we are resting in Him--despite everything else--that we may demonstrate the most powerful testimony to who God is. Inexplicable peace is a form of praise...
I think it's likely that, for every person who is put off by hand-raising, hymn-singing worshippers who are hard to relate to, there may be at least one person who wants to know what is really going on; when we rest in the peace that passes understanding we demonstrate that it is real and possible.
When we beseech the Lord in the valley, we bear testimony that He is and that He listens. But when we rest in Him, it's a special kind of praise.
So, the next time I need to be reminded of this...hopefully not before tomorrow!, please feel free to give me the necessary poke...