Traveling the road of life, it would be great to have a map that shows what is ahead. In some respects, the Bible is that but it is not picture of what will specifically happen in your life next week. Sometimes that is hard if you are going through struggles.
You want answers. You want direction. You want to know when you will get to the end of the tunnel and come out on the other side.
As humans, we like to map out our lives from a past perspective showing where we have been. That alone should make us realize that our maps of joy and our maps of sorrow are the same map. Instead, I think we look at them separately...or at least I do that on occasion. This month has given me a clearer view of how entangled these two elements are in life. God does not remove one or the other. He weaves them together.
It is like Fall. You get the beautiful colors of the leaves and relief from the sweltering summer but with that you get nippy winds biting your cheeks, shorter daylight hours, and eventually everything turning brown.
We don't get to compartmentalize joys over here and sorrows over there or try to avoid sorrows altogether. The two intermingle. Joys sweeten sorrows and sorrows highlight joy. I learned that even more this month.
Jellybean lost weight during August and September from vomiting and a nasty cold. Despite feeding him more calories and more volume of food, he is not gaining anything. In fact, he lost a few ounces. I am worried and discouraged and blaming myself. His unrelated surgery next month is quickly approaching and how he will fare without some extra weight? On top of this, it seems he will linger in the system a while because his case is a mess. My daughter is dealing with some strange anxiety and fatigue from her chronic disease. My son has been sick a lot lately and we fear that he may need to be tested for tick-borne illness as well.
In the past month, Jellybean has also been able to sit for 15 minutes and, not only can he sit, he can play with toys while he is sitting. He has rolled from his tummy to his back twice. Much to our delight he has been reaching for us and even learned to sign "up." Just the other day, he picked up on how awesome it is to give high fives. So fun! My daughter is making really good grades in her first semester of college. She has become an ace paper-writer even though she was the most afraid of writing college papers. My son is on track to graduate college in a few semesters and will probably do it with honors.
But even if I did not have any of that, joy and sorrow still exists as a Christian. Sorrow for a world that does not acknowledge God. Joy for a God that is unchanging, righteous, just, and merciful. Sorrow for the effects of sin. Joy for the Savior that overcomes sin. Sorrow for death. Joy for Jesus who can bring us victory over death.
One day, those who belong to Christ will live without sorrow but for now, our lives are woven into a picture of Him using both and there is a way to glorify God in it all.