Not long ago I read a book called Walking Through Fire: A Memoir of Loss and Redemption by Vaneetha Randall Reisner. Vaneetha suffered much from a debilitating disease, loss of babies including an infant son, and her husband was unfaithful to her and left her. Incredibly she writes, “I no longer contrast joy with sorrow because I found they can coexist. It is purposelessness not sorrow that squelches joy. When we begin to understand God‘s purpose– begin to glimpse him working for good – we can experience true joy even inside our story.”
So, is it actually possible to have joy when we are experiencing confusion, anxiety, sorrow or loss?
It isn’t just possible to experience both, it is essential.
Do you realize that God wrote something called lamenting into the Bible? Have you ever said: God why have you allowed this? Are you still there? Do you still care about me? When are you going to do something about my situation? Have you ever said any of these things in your own confusion, loss, anxiety or sorrow? Someone named David asked many of the same questions and some of them are recorded in the Bible in something called a lament in Psalm 13.
This is what the Psalmist David asked . . .
O Lord, how long will you forget me? Forever?
How long will you look the other way?
How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?
How long will my enemy have the upper hand?
Turn and answer me, O Lord my God!
Restore the sparkle to my eyes, or I will die.
Don’t let my enemies gloat, saying, “We have defeated him!”
Don’t let them rejoice at my downfall.
Think about David’s words, his lament. He asks some of the same questions that we ask when we are struggling.
I am so glad that this Psalm doesn’t end with sorrow. David goes on, like the author, Vaneetha, in the book I quoted, to express his purpose and his joy in the middle of his confusion and questions . . .
But I trust in Your unfailing love.
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.
I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me.
David made a decision to put his trust in God. David chose to praise God. David chose God to be His rescuer. This was his purpose and this gave him joy in the middle of a difficult time.
You may be in the middle of a difficult time. You may be facing decisions and stress and you may have experienced loss. I want to encourage you, like the Psalmist David, to choose to put your trust in God. To choose the forgiveness that Jesus offers. To choose to open your heart to the One who created you and loves you and wants to walk with you.