Today’s Sabbath Revival comes to us from February 2008 by our dear Justine.
You know what? I’m grateful for pain.
As I watch a bunch of recent sadness unfold around me, I can’t help but be struck by the importance of it. Most of the great and important gains I’ve made in my life have been in a time of stress or sadness. Happiness, while certainly comfortable, doesn’t really do much to stretch me. A recent Newsweek article has had me thinking even more about this. My prayers (embarrassing admission ahead) are far more sincere and heartfelt when I’m under stress or facing crisis. When things tend to sail along, my relationship with the Lord tends to become too casual and dispassionate.
Some time ago, I read the story of a woman who survived the Rwandan genocide by hiding with seven other women in a bathroom for three months. She talks about how she, on occasion, actually misses the time spent in the 4?-6? space because she became so close to the Lord. She misses that intimate relationship she forged with the Savior during the stay that left her weighing 80 pounds and atrophied. Her crisis helped push her closer to God. Doesn’t that ring true with many of us?
I know we (as a people) mostly tend to be in search of happiness (wait, isn’t there a book about that…), but my experience has found that so much of the richness of life is had in the shadows of happiness. Now, I certainly don’t want to advocate searching out pain and sadness, but feeling deep sorrow or profound mourning sharpens the edges of the happier moments. My toddlers heartbeat against my ear is more meaningful. My husband’s gentle hand around mine is more tender. Mundane moments are remembered more fondly as they contrast against sadder days.
(Lest I wax melancholy, I should probably acknowledge that most people have likely already figured this out. I’m just slow that way…Or perhaps I’m just somewhere else on the road, way in the back, trying to catch up. Wave to me if you can see me, I could use the encouragement.)
Maybe we don’t always need to cheer each other up. Sometimes, maybe we could just be sad together. I’ve got some growing to do. And you?