In one of the greatest modern works of discipleship, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, Eugene Peterson powerfully captures the juxtaposition of joy and pain. Check this out:
“All suffering, all pain, all emptiness, all disappointment is seed: sow it in God and he will, finally, bring a crop of joy from it.”
“A common but futile strategy for achieving joy is trying to eliminate things that hurt: get rid of pain by numbing the nerve ends, get rid of insecurity by eliminating risks, get rid of disappointment by depersonalizing your relationships. And then try to lighten the boredom of such a life by buying joy in the form of vacations and entertainment.”
“Enjoyment is not an escape from boredom but a plunge by faith into God’s work. There is plenty of suffering on both sides, past and future. The joy comes because God knows how to wipe away tears, and in his resurrection work, create the smile of new life. Joy is what God gives, not what we work up.”
Might the pain you’ve experienced be seed? And how might plunging deep into God allow that seed to sprout, take root and grow a crop of joy in your life in the season to come, simply be surrendering to his great love?
Lord, do your work in us.
Grace and Peace,