Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103:1-6
Surprising pairs are everywhere. Salty peanut butter is paired with sweet and sticky jelly. Bland macaroni is paired with the sharp undertones of cheddar. Bitter coffee is paired with sweetened cream. On the surface, you would never put these things together, and yet by being together they create something new and amazing!
In our lives we experience a surprising pair of our own. Who but God would ever think to mix joy and sadness? We go to great lengths to be happy all the time. After all, no likes a downer, raincloud, or party pooper. Some people, especially those in the church, feel as though they must plaster a smile on their face at all times, while deep inside their heart is struggling and breaking. In all our efforts to stay happy, we fail to see the freedom that sadness can bring.
In Pixar’s Inside Out, there is a wonderful scene where Riley comes to grip with her sadness and loss. It is not until she acknowledges the pain, that she can find true joy.
I am sure, like me, you have had your own experiences of loss, sadness, disappointment, and disillusionment that were no fun as you journeyed through them. Yet, on the flip side, as you called out to God from your lowest point you found true joy in His goodness, faithfulness, trustworthiness, grace, and mercy. David sure did. In the above psalm, David pours out his praise. But, note what he went through in verses 3-5. David was forgiven because he had sinned. He was healed because he was sick. He was redeemed because death was knocking at his door. He was renewed and given strength because he had grown weary.
Perhaps this season of 2020 has left you feeling loss. It’s okay to feel that. It’s okay to admit that you need others in your corner, by your side, and to help hold you up. It’s okay to be honest with the fact that you aren’t okay. God is big enough to hold you and all your hurt, and wise enough to work all that hurt for your good and His glory.
This week, find encouragement in Peter Rollins’ “The Great Misfortune”. Perhaps, even in your present struggle you can give thanks for those who have stood by you through the hard times. Let them know how much they have meant to you in this season and how grateful you are for them.
By Sheila Rennau