Weeping and Rejoicing with Others
Open Your Bible
Psalm 22:24, John 11:28-44, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 11:28, Romans 12:12-15, Hebrews 10:24-25, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
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.
Weeping with Others Scriptures—Psalm 22:24, John 11:28-44, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 11:28
Rejoicing with Others Scriptures—Romans 12:12-15, Hebrews 10:24-25, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Weep with those who weep. Rejoice with those who rejoice. There is a lot of power in that word “with.”
Most of us are familiar with these commands but, if we think of them at all, find them awfully uncomfortable. Weeping and rejoicing – those are vulnerable expressions. Vulnerability is personal and scary. Risky, even.
When do you weep?
We weep at loss, at fear, at our complete lack of control or hope. We weep when our wife says she is leaving, or when our child is diagnosed with leukemia, or when our boss says he has to let us go. We don’t often weep publicly, of course. We weep when we are in the car or at home, alone. We weep when there is no more illusion of control, or of being able to fix the situation, or of even being able to put one foot in front of the other.
Now, think of when you rejoice.
We rejoice at the utterly unexpected and when the thread of hope we’ve clung to turns out to be a lifeline, pulling us to safety. We rejoice when our wife returns, when the doctor says “the scans are clean,” when the tax return comes just in time to replenish the bank account.
Times of weeping and rejoicing are deep, poignant, and often our own. The are deeply personal, right? They are my expressions of pain or joy. You can keep yours over there, thanks.
Let me pose a “what if” question, though. What if, as Hebrews says, we were “in the habit of meeting together” and being genuinely concerned for one another? What if we were with each other in joy and sorrow?
Such meeting together has saved my soul, or very nearly so. A group of close friends were the ones who wept with me as I wrestled through faith and marriage and job crises over the years. They rejoiced with me at every grace God poured out, and sometimes they rejoiced for me when I was too blind do so. They didn’t treat my sorrows or joys as mine only. They were ours, and in being ours, burdens were divided and happiness was multiplied.
With means far more than “I’ll pray for you.” It means praying with. It means far more than congratulating a friend. It means celebrating with them because you feel their joy.
With means uniquely reflecting God’s image. God turns His face to the sorrowful and the hurting. He doesn’t ignore or abandon. He knows our suffering because Christ suffered all we suffer. Christ promises rest for those who are weary of carrying unbearable weight.
You and I are called to be the hands and hearts and voices to share in this sort of care, this rest, this understanding by weeping and rejoicing with others. It is holy work.
Written By Barnabas Piper