“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” | Romans 12:15
As I’ve grown in my relationship with Adonai and in my walk as a Christian and a pilgrim in this world, I’ve learned that the life of the Christian is a life of paradox, of things that the Scripture speaks of in the same breath but that don’t fit together in our finite human minds. Things like having to die before you can be born. Things like “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10b). Things like counting it all Joy when you fall into various trials (James 1:2). Things like the sin-less Son of God becoming sin for me and for all those who believe on His Name.
Things like weeping and rejoicing all at the same time.
Not for the first time, and probably not for the last time, did I experience that last bit in January 2020. Throughout the years, I’ve witnessed dear friends push through Joy and pain with a shaking smile because they experienced betrayal and Life all in the space of a day or two. That was sort of me in January.
As the month dawned, I was floundering yet again. Isn’t that just like us as humans, though? Things can be smashingly golden and bright and joyous and then we flounder and drift, forgetting the Light as our circumstances take center stage…yet again. I’ve talked about this at length in my post on Rekindling Your Heart When The Flames Are Dying so definitely check that one out if you haven’t already 🙂
Things were growing Dark and I was desperately trying to muster up as much Joy as I could because a dear friend was getting married and had asked me to be a part of The Wedding. It was most certainly an occasion for Joy. The Most High had brought Erulisse and her Wolf-hunter together after several years of patient waiting and praying and everything in-between. He had woven hearts and lives together like only He can and celebration was in order. And I was glad.
I was thrilled-beyond-words because something Erulisse and I had both prayed and fan-girl-ed about for YEARS had shifted from shadows to substance.
But right before I left for a weekend of wedding shenanigans, sad news rippled through the airwaves of my small world and re-oriented my already-wavering heart. I felt very much like Theoden did at Helms’ Deep when the Uruk-hai turned out to be more than he reckoned and his courage hung by a thread. As king, his men looked to him for leadership but the battle-tide had turned for the worse and he had run out of Hope. In his weakest moment, as the dead bodies of his warriors littered the outside of the fortress, as the women and children huddled in fear beneath the castle and rain pounded from the night sky, as monsters raged in evil in the darkness without, in that moment, when all Hope seemed lost, Theoden turned to the one man who hadn’t lost Hope and asked, utter despair leaking from his words:
“What can man do against such reckless hate?”
And Aragorn, THE MAN, Strider, Elessar, The Dunedan, allll the names. Aragorn locked eyes with the king and said “Ride out with me, ride out and meet them.”
Even when all Hope seemed lost, there was still a sliver left to be found. Aragorn encouraged Theoden to grasp hold of that sliver with whatever strength he had left and to meet the enemy once more. Because that’s what you do. You gather your Courage and you fight on. You do your duty even when all you’d rather do is retreat from the front lines.
I watched that scene in The Lord of the Rings when I returned home from The Wedding and I cried. It just resonated with so much of what I had been facing and this just goes to show, lovely humans, that there is Truth to be found in stories of fiction so please, don’t write off quality literature and quality movies. The Most High has lessons and comforts for us even in the most unlikely places 🙂
So, by the grace of the Most High God Himself, I gathered my Courage and stepped into a weekend I was somewhat dreading. I didn’t want my dark cloud to cast a shadow on Erulisse’s happy day because it would have been the height of selfishness to allow my confusion and sadness to interrupt and envelope her wedding. As usual, her graciousness and love and Sunshine never cease to ASTOUND me and she found time and energy in the midst of her busy Joy to comfort me. Girl, if you’re reading this, you.are.a.LEGEND.
The Most High gave me grace and I echoed the words of Amy Carmichael as my own: “Thank God He doesn’t measure out grace in teaspoons.” If we need ocean-loads of grace, He is all-sufficient. And let’s be real, we all need ocean-loads of grace each day 🙂 He met me and carried my heart and showed me what it meant to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep. I’d never experienced the Truth of that verse in Romans in such a poignant way. As I stood in the laundry room at the home of our gracious hostess after the bachelorette shenanigans had died down, I thanked Adonai that I hadn’t brought my dark cloud with me.
For anyone wondering, I was in the laundry room wrapping Erulisse and her Wolf-hunter’s wedding presents at midnight on the eve of The Wedding (because why do something early when you can do it in a sort of panic right before it’s supposed to be finished? 😂) while watching my alma mater play basketball. Life’s an Adventure, lovely humans, may we never forget it 🙂
Buuuut The Wedding Day dawned and just to make things more interesting, myself and another bridesmaid decided to fall ill during the night and come down with flu-like symptoms which worsened throughout the festivities 😂 We barely stayed on our feet during the ceremony and blew our noses like train whistles during the reception and shivered and sweated in a nice rhythm while Erulisse and her Wolf-hunter expressed their thanks to all and sundry also during the reception. All in all, Erulisse handled it like a champ and expressed large amounts of concern on our behalf even while she was marrying her Man of the Hour. Her heart of gold is legendary.
As I left for home, barely able to hear from my clogged ears, and aching and shivering like no tomorrow, I was happier than when I arrived. Another paradox. All I wanted was to rip my throat out ’cause it hurt like fire and all I wished for was that both my nostrils would either be clogged or open at the same time. But in the middle of all that, I was rejoicing…and I hadn’t been rejoicing on my way to The Wedding weekend. My Heavenly Father had shown me what it meant to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep. The sad news which I’d received prior to leaving was still waiting for me when I returned and the things which had contributed to my lousy attitude overall still remained as well.
But one thing had changed.
And I’m finding it’s this one thing that makes all the difference: my perspective. I can rejoice and weep simultaneously. It’s impossible but with Adonai, all things are possible to those who believe. He doesn’t command us to do anything that we cannot do in His strength. He has literally given us ALL-sufficiency in Him so, as a sister in Adonai reminded me recently, we can never say “I can’t do this”.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that, you, always having all sufficiency in all things may have an abundance for every good work.” | 2 Corinthians 9:8
Let that sink in. ALL grace. ALL sufficiency in ALL things. That means EVERYTHING. So we can’t say “Oh, that’s too hard” about any part of His commands or about any of our duties. In Him, we are strong.
So the Most High had shown me His faithfulness yet again. In Him, I can ride out and meet the storm no matter the reckless hate and deep sadness. I’ve got no reason to be in despair when the King of the Universe is on His throne. He’s always there, ruling it all in His sovereignty. He’s always there and all is always well.
May this encourage your soul, lovely humans. Lift your head, brave warrior. In Him, you have strength for the storm.
There is always Hope.
P.S. Stay tuned for Part II where The Saga of Hope continues 🙂
| We’re in a War, my friends, and we all need Courage on the Front Lines ❤ |