When people think of a new year they think of new beginnings. Of a fresh start and of endless possibilities. We do not think of loss or of waiting. We do not think of deprivation and of letting go but of celebration.
However without these painful things we do not know or understand the words gain or joy. Because to understand joy we must know what its opposite is. By understanding not only what it is but also, what it is not.
The year of 2020 opened up for us with great hope and yet, with utter horror we watched as the world transformed daily into pain, and great deprivation. It was in this kind of mingling of not complete horrors but shadows of it everywhere that I found myself staring into the face of loss. Loss became the word for the entire year, for the entire globe.
What do you do when your daily becomes pain, how do you swim yourself to the surface when you are so far under you cannot see the sun? How do you make THAT extraordinary?
Sitting in that space I questioned everything.
“The meaning of it all. Nothing new was under the sun. What were we all doing? What was I doing? God is good but, how is this good?”
Pushing and shoving the negative back was my job as bearer of good news and light! So I would shove. So far that anything painful and hurtful I would “grin and bear it”. I would push and shove back until it was better, until I could “make” it better. Until it became my reality I would say I was “waiting on God”.
I would shove so hard back on pain that even now crying is not a natural thing for me. Emotional pain being the hardest pain for me to acknowledge. Because of my fear, I looked tough and competent. Fear that if I acknowledged the loss the reality would sink me so far down I could never recover from the hurt and cruelties of our fallen world. The hurt would then be my identity instead of the light, and beauty, and joy that surrounds us.
But what if the negative is where you find yourself? No matter how much you push on it, loss is apart of life just as gain is. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. In fact ignoring it causes us to not fully know the depths of joy and gain.
So what do you do with that? How do you move on when loss crashes in on your hope? When it is your identity?
It is through the bruises, the pain and the utter devastations in life that I am reminded of the cross. That I am reminded that Jesus wept. That in our deepest moment of gain there was loss. Utter brokenness of a body and utter devastation of a spirit.
Everyone reminds us of the celebrations of Jesus, of the miracles and the holiness, and of even the heart for children that He had. But do we remind ourselves that He was also a man who grieved deeply.
If you are in a season of grief and loss, if this year is hard I pray you know that in that grief and in sitting in it, allowing it, you can find the One who called new life from the very depths of it!
I push back on the negative and stand against evil because I hate it so. Just as all our natures do. Not one of us likes death, loss, or injustice. What I forget and fail to remember sometimes in my shoving back is that the pain and the grief came before the push back.
Let me explain. Jesus still mourned the loss even when He knew his friend would be raised. (John 11) He still cried out to his father even when he knew he would stand in triumph! (Matthew 27:26) He still begged for better. (Mathew 26:39) even in what He had to do. Going through the loss is what brought us our very life. It continues to do so.
Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Weep my friends and be renewed. Allow yourself the seasons of grief and identify with Jesus.
“Hope is the mingling of Joy and sorrow, because hope is Jesus. God and man. Perfection and pain.” -Kathrine Wolf