“Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing…” (2 Corinthians 6:10a)
I wrote this poem on the 19th of August, thinking I would turn it into a blog the next day...God had other plans...and now, here on the other side of my brother's passing, I want to share it with you as I and my family grieve our loss...he left a big hole.
Seeds of Joy
What is this joy mixed with my sorrow?
How do joy and sorrow become one and blend?
While this loss is bringing tears to my eyes
There’s joy in knowing it’s not the end
What is this sorrow mixed with my joy?
Sometimes life is full of such deep pain
The loss cuts like a two-edged sword
Exuding death, yet bringing life again
What are these tears both salty and sweet?
One part elation, one part depressed
Cascading down as pieces of liquid glass
Piercing with sorrow yet joy is expressed
What is occurring in all I cannot see?
This Presence which gently blends the two
As sorrow and joy flow and collide in me
Unfolding, revealing, making all things new
What is unveiling as I yield to this?
Peace hovers over my barren soul
I hear a whisper of wisdom, “Let it be.”
Holding, caressing, taking control
What is this sorrow mixed with my joy?
I tremble as though I will melt into dust
My heart is so heavy yet vastly alive
“This child, is what it feels like to trust.”
“Yes, it hurts when it does not go your way
Yes, your sorrow is tangible and real
But it is nothing compared to the depths
Of the joy you will know when all is revealed
Sorrow and joy are often intertwined
The roads they travel often collide
Sorrow often tries to overpower joy
Joy often seems to disperse and hide
Yet in every place of Sorrow’s work
There exists the seeds of glorious joy
When you yield into Sorrow’s cold ground
The power of my Spirit I then employ
Up from the darkness of Sorrow’s earth
Up from the depth of all you cannot see
Joy comes with the morning light
As you keep your heart and focus on Me
So let Sorrow complete her perfect design
Let your heart grieve and feel the pain
Knowing that Joy’s flowers will bloom still
Yielding immense beauty after Sorrow’s rain…”
Joy wrapped in sorrow. Sorrow wrapped in joy. These packages seem a bit overwhelming, sort of like receiving a box marked ‘Candy!’ when what is really inside are ‘Rocks.’ It is very easy to get consumed with sorrow. Sorrow falls like a cloak over our deepest disappointments and losses. But I have found that when I stop and look, when I listen intently, I can hear and see joy mingled in with my sorrow. A memory comes and I smile, the Spirit moves and I am reminded that He will make all things new. (Revelation 21:5) Hope sparks joy. And we need hope most when we find ourselves in places of sorrow. We need Romans 8:38-39; “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” We need Revelation 21:3-4; “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed away.” We need to know that God is still on His throne, that His love never fails, that His mercy endures forever, and His grace is inexhaustible.
Sorrow does not have the final say unless we allow it to. As Jesus prepared for the Cross in the Garden of Gethsemane we read this in Matthew 26:36-38; “Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And he took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” Jesus was overcome by sorrow, the Amplified Bible states, “My soul is deeply grieved, so that I am almost dying of sorrow.” Why? Why did He take on this kind of sorrow, the sorrow of all of humanity collectively? Hebrews 12:2b tells us, “…who for the joy set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” It was the joy set before him that caused him to bear the intense sorrow. The joy of redeeming you and I, the joy of setting us free, the joy of setting everything right that had gone so wrong in the Garden of Eden. There, Adam and Eve went from great joy in the paradise God had made for them , to the sorrow of shame and depravity at their fall. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus went from great sorrow in taking on Himself all of the sin and sorrow of fallen man, to the joy of restoring us and all that had been lost.
It’s been two days since my brother Bill passed away. I am in the throes of sorrow yet I still feel the subtleties of joy underlying my tears, mixing with my emotions, stirring in my soul….as memories come, funny things he said and did, thoughtful things he’s done, wisdom he’s given when I couldn’t make sense of things, hugs, and his amazing laughter…ever an optimist, ever a little bit clueless, ever my brother Boolly.
So if you find yourself in the place of sorrow, know that He is planting seeds of joy, know that you will smile again, and laugh again. Keep your focus on Him and watch as your mourning is turned into dancing…if not in this life, in the one to come…take heart brave soul, there are always seeds of joy being planted in the garden of your heart, even in the midst of deep sorrow.
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
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