Count it all joy. That’s what it says in James 1:2. But what about that part of the Bible where it tells us we will have seasons for everything; weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing? (Ecclesiastes 3) I am for sure in that weeping and mourning part. Sounds come out of the pain I did not know existed within my voice. Joy and pain. It can be really difficult to rectify counting this grief as joy.
Yet, I am to count it all as joy.
Joy and pain. Right now they coexist in my lift. Much like a river, pain comes flowing over its levee, rolls over and floods the joy. But then, subsides, goes back where it should be held, and the joy can come out and flourish once again. Joy and pain hold a precarious balance.
I’m in that valley where the river of pain can easily flow right over. It’s so easy to jump right into an inner tube with a drink and float along that deep river of grief. It’s even easier to wallow if I can tie onto a few other people and all of us can float along together, right? The river starts to flow fast and it gets more and more difficult to pull out when the grief becomes comfortable.
Okay, I’m not gonna lie. The only river I really jump into these days is a swimming pool’s lazy river filled with chlorine. Because … snakes. But, you get this? Grief is deep. Before I know it I’m three covers under, a super-sized fast food meal with extra-large French fries (and Coke Zero because I’m watching my weight, duh), some year-old Halloween candy I’ve dug up from the depths of the cabinet, with a chick-flick full of tears on board. I know how to wallow hard over here. My lazy river current of grief pulls hard and swift.
What happened to counting it all joy? Gone. Out with my fast food trash.
Nothing is going to pull me towards counting that grief as joy like the word of God. Not Chick-fil-A, no caramel M&M’s, not even the Julia Roberts of old will bring the joy back like God’s Word. Sometimes the tears are too blurry in my eyes; I have to sing it, hear it, just listen. But God will bring it to me the exact way I need if I get out from Amazon Prime Video long enough to hear Him.1 Corinthians 15 reminds me this life is temporary. If I’m gonna trust him with His death, then I’m gonna trust Him with it all. Go big or go home. No, that doesn’t really apply. Just … go big. The reminder of Christ’s resurrection and therefore, our own, the ‘mystery’ that 1 Corinthians 15:51 tells us about is a victory that I cannot comprehend. But somehow, it joins both pain and joy at the same time. In a moment we will be changed. In the bat of an eye, raised—joy. But, it also says flesh and blood can’t go there—pain.
I’m starting to understand why God tells me to count all of this, this pain, joy. It’s worth it. The sting of this world brings victory through Jesus (1 Cor. 15:56 CSB). In the bat of an eye it will be worth it. So today, I’m counting my grief as joy.
My husband and I are parents of all boys. One of whom was a young adult with both physical and intellectual disabilities. I don’t always know what I’m doing as I parent these guys. But what I do know is God is teaching me big things through our trials that I probably would have never learned without them. You can find more from me at www.alifenotnormal.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter @stefmckeever.