Joy and Sorrow. Sorrow and Joy.

I was tossing and turning, staring at the clock wondering how much sleep I’d get if I fell asleep NOW.

Or NOW.

Okay, NOW.

It was one of those nights…

It was a Sunday evening and Adam and I just had the whole week off for a little “staycation.”  We had a great week of weather and relaxation, we celebrated our five year anniversary and we had Brooks dedicated at church that very Sunday.  We were surrounded by family all day and we felt truly blessed.  It was a week worth celebrating.  It was a joyful week.

But as I cozied up in bed reflecting back on the week, sorrow crept in.  That day was bittersweet.  You see, my aunt is in the hospital battling for her life with cancer and she was the only one not there that day.  She’s always there.  She’s always been there.  For every big moment.  For every small moment.  It was… odd and a little uncomfortable.  I spent that day thinking about her often, hugging my two younger cousins, her daughters, a little tighter and gazed at my uncle with concern more times than I can remember, praying for him each time I did.

We all did have a wonderful time, but we all knew something was missing.

P.s.  Cancer sucks, am I right?

I thought about those two things side by side in bed that night, tears beginning to roll down my face.  And, as weird as this sounds, it made me chuckle a little.  I remember thinking, “Well if that’s not the story of life I don’t know what is…”

It’s thinking you have a relaxing night ahead of you, only to be interrupted later in the shower by your concerned husband and a crying child while shampoo is still in your hair.

It’s watching a friend give birth to a beautiful baby boy one week, while another buries her stillborn baby girl the next.

It’s moving into a new home and then having a pipe burst.

It’s the joy of servicemen or women coming home to families from battle only to fight a different battle in PTSD.

It’s dedicating this new life in Christ, while a loved one clings to hers.

Joy and sorrow.

Sorrow and joy. 

Side by side.

Life. In a nutshell.

It is proof of a fallen world.

That night in bed I raised this question with God…

Lord, where is the good in bad?

I wanted a detailed explanation.  Instead, He gave me one word.

Jesus.

I stared up at the ceiling in awe of how simple the answer was and how easily I forget.

The day Jesus was murdered, I don’t think his followers thought that was a good day.  They had no idea what was to come.  All they knew was their leader and friend, who claimed to be the Son of God who will rule the earth, died.  He died.  How do you rule the earth when you’re dead?

Sorrow.

But three days later Jesus rose again.

Joy.

The story of Jesus reveals a similar pattern…

Joy and sorrow.

Sorrow and joy.

Side by side.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

But here’s the kicker.  Without Jesus, all would be bad, even when it’s good.

Let me explain.

We would still have some good.  We’d also still have some bad.  There would still be joy.  There would still be sorrow.

But our sorrow, the bad, would be just plain bad.  There would be no “bright side.”  No “reason.”  No “purpose” for any of our pain.  If bad was just plain bad, bad would begin to suffocate the good until, eventually, all that’s left is bad.

And that’s not good…

Yes, there is good and bad.

But because of Jesus, there is also good in bad.

Because of Jesus, life is good despite the bad.

Because of Jesus, we find joy even in our bad.

I’m not saying our sufferings in this life are not painful.  I’m not saying the bad doesn’t hurt.  I’m not saying it will ever feel good to endure the bad.  Nobody wants the bad.

I hate the bad.

I don’t want to lose people I love.

Do you??

I cringe at the bad.

I cry at the bad.

I’m an emotional wreck at the bad.

I hate, hate, HATE the bad!

God also hates the bad.  So He gave us the good… in His bad.  By sacrificing His only son, God endured the bad so that we could have the good.  And Jesus is SO perfect, that even when life is bad, it can still be Good.

Our hope is in Him.

My hope is in Him.

It’s because of that hope that in my sorrow, I try to cling to the promise of Jesus’ words,

In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart.  I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)

And these words from the Apostle Paul,

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also boast in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:2-4)

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

And lastly these…

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

I don’t know the reasons for a lot of things.  I grow weary trying to figure that out.  I just don’t know.  I don’t know why bad things happen other than we live in a broken world and until Jesus returns or until we pass on into eternal life, we will always have trouble.

Joy and sorrow.

Sorrow and joy.

Side by side.

And when we’re in our sorrow, which we inevitably will be, we’ll feel pain.  We’ll be hurt.  We’ll have heartache.

We’ll probably cry out to the heavens and ask God that question we so easily forget the answer to…

Lord, where is the good in bad?

And God, even in our forgetfulness, will lovingly give us the simplest yet most appropriate one word answer.

Jesus.

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5 thoughts on “Joy and Sorrow. Sorrow and Joy.

  1. christian kaefer says:

    Wow, so spot on and thanks for sharing your thoughts Karen. Going through the same cycle of life/death/life/death and in my circle and the emotional potluck sucks. Thanks for the reminder of Rom 8:18!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Karen for sharing your heart and so eloquently expressing it. Thank you for reminding me Jesus is absolutely the good in the bad!

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