Many times our days consist of situations directly opposite from one another. One friend can be experiencing wonderful circumstances like a wedding, the birth of a baby, a vacation and other things that include moments of great joy. Another friend can be walking through the darkest valley of her life in the death of a family member, the news of cancer from a doctor, a path of great heartbreak and sorrow. It is a challenge to negotiate a balance in our words and actions to honor all the people we touch in a day.
As a pastor and wife, we can walk from one hospital room filled with pink balloons, laughter and coos spilling out into the hall, celebrating the birth of a healthy baby girl. Then we walk down the hall into a dimly lit room and hear sobs of grief for a baby, who was born, only to immediately fall into the arms of Jesus instead of the longing arms of his mother. Heartwarming to heartbreaking.
Joy and sorrow … celebration and mourning … victory and defeat … happiness and sadness … rejoicing and grieving … welcoming and withdrawing … laughing and crying … loving and longing … hope and despair … light and darkness…
“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. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)
I pray we will be sensitive to understand this balance, as it always exists in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Jesus conquered death but we still experience sorrow. The great news is that Jesus is our hope, our comfort and our peace. As we think of others above ourselves we can become more sensitive to the lives of those we touch everyday.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)