Sorrow and Joy: Close Companions in Life
Almost four months ago I wrote this in my journal on January 22, 2020.
There are mixed feelings today. Joy and Sorrow. We are moving into our house today! The Joy is to finally be settled. The joy of seeing the children happy and becoming more at peace. The sorrow is there too. That this move is real. We are not on vacation. We are making this our home. Home. A place to dwell. The season of waiting for us to be here is over. Dear Lord, more than anything I need Your hand. Guide me. Lead me. Comfort me. Amen.
“The Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” Isaiah 58:11
Little did I know at the time how much joy and sorrow would mix together. It seems like the world is filled with both – all of the time. Not just during a time of crisis, but even in the ordinary days joy and sorrow are always mixing together. A long time ago I read this by C.E. Cowman from the book, Streams in the Desert. It is a fictional narrative about Joy and Sorrow. Can we really live a life without either of these things?
Sorrow was beautiful, but her beauty was the beauty of the moonlight shining through the leafy branches of the trees in the wood, and making little pools of silver here and there on the soft green moss below. When Sorrow sang, her notes were like the low sweet call of the nightingale, and in her eyes was the unexpectant gaze of one who has ceased to look for coming gladness. She could weep in tender sympathy with those who weep, but to rejoice with those who rejoice was unknown to her.
Joy was beautiful, too, but his was the radiant beauty of the summer morning. His eyes still held the glad laughter of childhood, and his hair had the glint of the sunshine’s kiss. When Joy sang his voice soared upward as the lark’s, and his step was the step of a conqueror who has never known defeat. He could rejoice with all who rejoice, but to weep with those who weep was unknown to him.
“But we can never be united,” said Sorrow wistfully. “No, never.” And Joy’s eyes shadowed as he spoke. “My path lies through the sunlit meadows, the sweetest roses bloom for my gathering, and the blackbirds and thrushes await my coming to pour forth their most joyous lays.”
“My path,” said Sorrow, turning slowly away, “leads through the darkening woods, with moon-flowers only shall my hands be filled. Yet the sweetest of all earth-songs–the love song of the night–shall be mine; farewell, Joy, farewell.”
Even as she spoke they became conscious of a form standing beside them; dimly seen, but of a Kingly Presence, and a great and holy awe stole over them as they sank on their knees before Him.
“I see Him as the King of Joy,” whispered Sorrow, “for on His Head are many crowns, and the nail prints in His hands and feet are the scars of a great victory. Before Him all my sorrow is melting away into deathless love and gladness, and I give myself to Him forever.”
“Nay, Sorrow,” said Joy softly, “but I see Him as the King of Sorrow, and the crown on His head is a crown of thorns, and the nail prints in His hands and feet are the scars of a great agony. I, too, give myself to Him forever, for sorrow with Him must be sweeter than any joy that I have known.”
“Then we are one in Him,” they cried in gladness, “for none but He could unite Joy and Sorrow.” Hand in hand they passed out into the world to follow Him through storm and sunshine, in the bleakness of winter cold and the warmth of summer gladness, “as sorrowful yet always rejoicing.”
Should Sorrow lay her hand upon thy shoulder,
And walk with thee in silence on life’s way,
While Joy, thy bright companion once, grown colder,
Becomes to thee more distant day by day?
Shrink not from the companionship of Sorrow,
She is the messenger of God to thee;
And thou wilt thank Him in His great tomorrow
For what thou knowest not now, thou then shalt see;
She is God’s angel, clad in weeds of night,
With ‘whom we walk by faith and not by sight.
CE Cowman – Streams in the Desert
So today I want to encourage you to embrace the joy and sorrow in your life. Whatever is causing you joy, do not diminish it. If sorrow is your closer companion, let you not forget you are not alone in your sorrow. Christ walks with you, friend.
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Sarah E. Frazer is a writer and Bible study mentor at sarahefrazer.com. She is the wife of Jason and mother of five who all serve as full-time missionaries in Honduras. Her passion is to encourage women to fall in love with the Bible. Sarah is the author of several Bible study resources for women. She share tools for deep-rooted Bible study at sarahefrazer.com. Follow her on Instagram (http://www.instagram.com/sarah_e_frazer) and join her free prayer challenge at sarahefrazer.com/prayer