Joy Grows in the Soil of Sorrow

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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  1. 3 months ago
    LN says

    What perfect timing! My older sister & I are currently trying to resolve a very stressful conflict with a younger sister (an atheist) who has caused a huge family split. It’s not going well which has caused my older sister (who is a new Christian) to question God’s love for our family. I’m am forwarding your blog to her & pray that it gives her some reassurance that God does hear our prayers & He cares. Would certainly welcome prayers that our family can be healed & that my younger sister’s heart will somehow hear God calling her.

  2. 3 months ago
    Deb says

    Lisa, God has given you words to speak to me at just the right time as I am experiencing the brokenness of trying to find my missing granddaughter. I know that God knows where she is and He is putting people and events in place to help us bring her home and I look forward to the rejoicing that we will have when that happens and it could be today or tomorrow. Will anyone who reads this please pray that God will put all things into place to bring Addy home to us and keep her safe in the meantime. We do know about where she is but have to be patient and trust God. We praise His name and thank you Lisa

    • 3 months ago
      Sandi says

      Oh Deb, going through very same thing. It is a huge situation, but our God is bigger than any mountain we face. He is only good & so very faithful, even if it takes time. Love NEVER fails. Our girls are in the hands of a mighty God. We DO praise and trust Him. Thank you LORD JESUS.

  3. Ooh!What a reviving and transforming out-pour.Its a big dish for the mind and i’m so fed.
    Pls can someone hook me up to a medium where men or both does it like the women of faith?

  4. 3 months ago
    Glory says

    Thank you so much, Lisa, for these inspirational words.In fact, this has come at the right time.
    sometimes, I am tempted to believe that whatever challenges my husband and I are going through will never end and that God is not really listening to us.
    But you’ve made me know that no matter what is happening, God is still at work in us to bring us to an expected end.
    God bless you

  5. 3 months ago
    DonnaW says

    Thank you Lisa. I’m going to use this to encourage me in the darkness I’m experiencing.

  6. As one who guarded my heart closely, I had to learn to not avoid but endure the processes of life. I needed to allow myself to be stretched completely by God. Through the process, my faith grew immensely! I learned that all days weren’t great days, but the bad days ended up being the best days because I learned how to dance in my valleys.

  7. 3 months ago
    Rtw says

    Very eye opening and honest post today. I enjoy reading always but this one particularly grasped my arm and yanked me inside.

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