When my baby girl died in my belly, I wept, like hard rain. Christmas came soon after and the babies at church were dressed in red velvet dresses and white tights.My chest ached heavy.
One of our pastors at the time came up to Jon and said, “Your wife is not exhibiting the joy of the Lord and that’s a sin.” He said that I was not being a good witness for Jesus. I felt ashamed.Six weeks had passed since I had labored long hours and our tiny Kala Maria had slipped lifelessly from my womb.
I got an email the other day from a young missionary girl in Cambodia who sheepishly confessed that she was feeling sad. She said that she knew God had given her a gift of joy but that lately she had been reflecting on specific times in her life that had been super hard and confusing and painful. She said the Lord had been showing her, that throughout her childhood, she had been taught that no matter what is going on inside, that she should dress it up and make it look beautiful on the outside, so that no one knows. She had been taught there was shame in pain too.A broken spirit and a contrite heart, these the Lord does not despise. I turn this up loud when Fernando belts it out on my stereo.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens, a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”Sometimes it’s time to weep. Surely Jesus thought so.
Even though he had the power and intention to restore Lazarus life, he was sad about death and He was sad because his friends were sad.Strange that I’m thinking about all this now, because I have actually been feeling really happy lately. But I am so acutely aware of the process God has taken to bring me to this hilltop season, the long and grueling battle where clinging to the mane of Aslan was my only hope for survival. In God’s timing Joy has returned, but not because I chose it…but because it chose me. And it could not be rushed or conjured up.
God decides the time for birth, death, planting, uprooting, killing, healing, tearing down, building, weeping, laughing, mourning, dancing, scattering, gathering, embracing, refraining, searching, giving up, keeping, throwing away, tearing, mending, silence, speaking, loving, hating, war and peace. God decides.And experiencing shame, from the roller coaster of emotions that come with these seasons, is from our enemy.
There’s this scene from the movie, The Odd Life of Timothy Green, where Jennifer Garner, and some guy who plays her husband, take their little boy to school for the first time. They’re all nervous and overbearing and checking twice to make sure he has his lunch and then the dad says, “Have a good day son!” Jennifer flashes her golden smile and then says to her husband, “Oh no Honey, don’t say that, it’s too much pressure.” So then the dad yells out quickly, “Have the day you have, son.”
So have the day you have… Jesus’ name will still be The Great I Am.