Joy Grows in the Soil of Sorrow

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June 11, 2014

JoyGrowsintheSoilofSorrowIt’s one thing to talk about the joy of being all in for Jesus when you’re in a double-espresso, good-hair, everything’s-working-out-like-I-wanted-it-to kind of season.

It’s easy to gallop willy-nilly toward the throne of God and throw candy-coated proverbs to people sitting on the curb watching your blessed and highly favored parade pass by. Things like: You just put that worry rock back in your pocket because everything’s going to work out for the best! (Someone actually said that to me recently. Fortunately, it was over the phone so I was unable to smack her.)

But it’s not nearly as easy to gallop toward God and overextend yourself toward others when life karate chops your dreams in half. Or when you barely have enough strength to put gauze on your own hemorrhaging heart.

However, I’m learning that, much like the inverted spiritual truism “part of the blessing is in the stretch itself” so also does great joy grow in the soil of sorrow. In fact, I’m not sure one can exist without the other in this life because the human heart is wired so as to need the contrast. If we didn’t have dark nights, we couldn’t experience the peachy glow of sunrise. If we didn’t ache, we couldn’t experience relief. If we didn’t suffer brokenness, we couldn’t experience restoration.

This symbiotic relationship between joy and sorrow means overextension will sometimes be incredibly painful for us. Stretching toward God and others when our own souls feel black-and-blue hurts. But as Mr. [C.S.] Lewis so wisely said, a heart that is protected from the possibility of breakage “will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

And that really would be the bigger tragedy.

I’d much rather risk the disappointment of love lost than never experience love at all.

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places. —Habakkuk 3:17–19

From Overextended © 2013 Lisa Harper (Thomas Nelson). Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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