Weeping and Rejoicing

Giant wooden Psalm 139 plaque that hangs in our house.

Tonight I am spending a lot of time thinking about how varied life can be, and how it can range from high to low at the exact same time.

Right now, some people in this big, wide world are celebrating the highest moments they've ever known in their lives while others are dropping to the deepest lows they've ever touched. At one and the same moment, there is weeping and rejoicing in this world.

Similarly, today found me rejoicing in a way I haven't rejoiced in a very long time, but it also found my heart marked with extraordinary sadness: my dear friend continues to navigate a terrain so completely unpredictable and terrifically heart-wrenching, I hardly know how her heart bears it. At one and the same moment, I wept and rejoiced tonight on my bed.

Inside my beloved friend's story, even, yesterday was cause for celebration and today brought heartache and pain. Weeping and rejoicing, in almost the very same breath.

And somehow God is present to it all.

How can that be?

I remember when little Ava Hunter struggled through her cancer diagnosis over a ten-week period this summer. I watched in amazement as her family continued to worship God, even as their beloved little girl slipped further and further away. At her memorial service, we all stood together and sang, "You give and take away, You give and take away, You give and take away, blessed be Your name."

I've been sitting on my bed tonight, staring up at the ceiling with joy and grief both swirling like mad in my heart, and I can't stop thinking about this: You give and take away. Blessed be Your name.

I can't say that I've been particularly good at blessing God's name in the difficult places of late. The Hunter family and my friend Kirsten have been great teachers to me in this regard. Even in the darkness, they have blessed God's name.

Oh, that I would do the same when darkness visits me.

But for now, I hold the weeping and rejoicing in my heart and marvel at the mystery of knowing both at once . . . perhaps, in some small way, similar to how God knows them too.