God created us as complex creatures, capable of feeling and sensing a whole garden of emotions. Made in the image of our Creator, we can both grieve the wrongs of this world, and celebrate the sweetness of this life.
This 2-week reading plan will lead us through a series of passages from Scripture that examine the seasons of mourning and dancing in the life of a believer. In the written responses here on the site, our writers will enter into this tension, articulating their personal experiences with grief and joy in hopes of freeing you to explore your own. By immersing our hearts and minds in God’s Word, and honestly presenting our laments to Him, may we remember that God is present with us, He is good, and He is faithful.
Mortality Scriptures—Psalm 103:15-16, Psalm 90:12-17, 1 Corinthians 15:26
Life Scriptures—Psalm 139:1-24, John 15:9-11, Revelation 21:4-5
I haven’t been all the way around the block. But I’ve been about halfway. Next year marks my fiftieth year on the planet. You see things differently at fifty than you did at twenty-two or thirty-seven. That’s simply the way life is. When you’re younger, death is the furthest thing from your mind, as it should be. But when you’re not so young anymore, life’s saddle starts shifting underneath you a little. Again, that’s simply the way life is. But it leaves you stretched between your mortality and the breathless gift of being alive on this good earth.
So how do you then live?
I’ll share the best advice I’ve found on this (and I’ve about heard it all). It comes from Frederick Buechner: “Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”
I used to believe those words were just for the young. But now I see them as imperative as we age, because the temptation is to either pretend you’re still nineteen, or become this Eeyore character moping around, waiting for the bitter end. Neither requires faith, much less courage.
Beautiful things will happen, like watching my daughter graduate from high school and aim high. Terrible things will happen, like a back injury that sidelined me for a year, unable to even do a pushup, an injury I sustained acting like I was nineteen.
Beautiful things will happen, like officiating as my parents renewed their vows in a golden wedding anniversary ceremony. Terrible things will happen, like the death of an old classmate taken far too soon, a lady I had a crush on as a boy. Hearing of her death gutted me with strange heartache.
Beautiful things will happen, like receiving a letter in the mail from a couple I helped years ago with a little pre-marital counseling, with a message that read, “Your words meant so much to us that we named our son after you. Just wanted you to know!” Terrible things will happen, like losing the joy of my salvation for a season, not knowing why or what to do about it. Beautiful things will happen, like being slowly wooed again by the Savior who has loved me longer than any other.
A man’s days are like grass. He blooms like a flower in a field, and then fades (Ps 103:15). But one day, death will no longer exist; neither will grief, crying, and pain because the old order to things will pass away (Rev 21:4). This is the deal. This is God’s world. The beautiful and the terrible. This is abundant life.
Don’t be afraid.
Written By John Blase