Last Monday rubbed my patience about as raw as sushi. And I hate sushi. Everything I tried to do went sideways. In my mind, I imagined flinging my computer across the room so it would feel the same amount of grief it had caused me. Every click of the cursor apparently filled the hard drive with molasses tempting me to become a curser. Why I thought I could reel in my emotions well enough to write something even a tad encouraging I’ll never know. Surely, the Spirit wanted me to merely be quiet and pay close attention to what was about to unfold. I should have listened sooner.
Little did I know that while I was grieving over something so trivial as a malfunctioning computer, Ron’s cousins were grieving a monumental loss. We got the news late Monday afternoon that Ron’s uncle Bob went to be with Jesus, and my perspective shifted.
The minor trials of Monday morning paled in comparison to the real sorrow of the afternoon. Ironically, that sorrow seemed to sweeten the small joys that came our way Tuesday and Wednesday. Not the least bit coincidentally, I noticed a Lysa Terkeurst quote that “just happened” to show up in my email. She explained what I needed to learn, “It’s crucial to let sorrow and celebration coexist.”
The sorrowful condition of our world, as well as the messiness of our personal relationships, can create an atmosphere that has the potential to foster insecurity, worry, grief, and fear. Even an undetected undercurrent of unrest in our souls can cause the smallest annoyances to dominate our many millions of reasons to celebrate. Yet, it doesn’t have to be that way for those who put their faith in the resurrection. Sorrow and celebration can coexist.
Ron and I spent Thursday afternoon at the church for the funeral and then at the graveside. I saw Lysa’s quote play out right in front of me. There were tears one minute, belly laughs the next, then tears again. Great loss brings great sorrow, but Jesus followers understand that separation is merely temporary. We look forward to the grand reunion of all who have chosen Life. The apostle Paul said it this way: “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NLT)
Sunday, I learned that while I slept Saturday night, my college roommate’s husband joined Ron’s uncle in heaven. None of us have time to play games. It’s become of least importance to me that people remember anything good I’ve done. I just want them to remember how good Jesus has been to me. More than anything, I want them to know that He wants to be that good to them too. He does not set us free so that we can ignore His blessings OR keep them all to ourselves. He wants us to live fruitful, joy-filled lives that overshadow the heartaches that come with our territory.
The past few days have made one thing crystal clear; I want to finish strong! Stephen Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, once said, “Begin with the end in mind.” Neither you nor I are at our original starting point in life, but we all have the opportunity to begin again – with the end in mind. Now, that’s something to celebrate!
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on
heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life.”
(Deuteronomy 30:19-20a NLT)
“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one can come to the Father except through me.’”
(John 14:6 NLT)
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession,
that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness
into his wonderful light.”
(1 Peter 2:9 NIV)