Joy and Sorrow
The spring and summer of the year 2020 has been a roller coaster of emotions and experiences in my life. In March I came back after only three weeks on the mission field I’d committed to for two years, and I have never understood better the meaning of the phrase “having the rug pulled out from under you.” However, I was grateful and confident that God led me to be in Colorado for this time, and it soon became more clear why.
In the month of July I stood up next to two of my dearest friends as they got married. I watched my brother go through two surgeries and an ER visit due to a stubborn infection in his back. I lost three loved ones that month: to suicide, to a ripe old age, and to an untimely brain tumor. In August I had the joy of spending a week with my two sweet nieces, Cayler and Flora, and hosting friends from my time in Nicaragua four years ago. My parents and I relived the anxiety of the 2012 High Park Fire that had us evacuated for eleven days as five wildfires in Colorado produced an overcast effect across the Front Range for several weeks.
All of this emphasizes the resounding theme of COVID-19: a removal of the illusion that I, we, or any person in this world is in control. Jesus is the only anchor. He is the only refuge. I pray that this virus along with every other suffering happening in our world will serve to bring more hearts to find refuge in Jesus Christ, who bore our burdens and brokenness that we might have life abundantly in Him. His pain, sorrow, grief, and suffering bought us redemption. He is using ours to the same end, that we may know Him more, and the power of His resurrection.
On Joy and Sorrow
Kahlil Gibran - 1883-1931
Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on February 10, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.