A month or so ago I wrote about our new baby in To Love Again. The last couple weeks my heart has been able to crack open and not just love her (oh, it’s a girl!) but find joy in her. And I think that’s the way the Lord wants it.
I think after loss, whether it’s the loss of a child, a divorce, the death of a spouse… whatever the loss is, we tend to feel guilty for loving again, for living again, even for smiling again. We feel like to honor the loss we must exist in perpetual sorrow. But we don’t.
The most famous man of I loss I can think of is Job of ancient times. There is a whole Old Testament book dedicated to his loss. Like 41 chapters of loss. He lost his home, his flocks, his children (all of them), his wife turned her back on him and his friends were absolutely miserable comfort. After all the tragedy that rocked Job’s world the story ends like this:
…the Lord restored his fortunes. In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before! Job 42:10
The Lord did that. The Lord replenished his loss.
In the book of Nehemiah, the prophet Ezra read the law before a people who, for generations, had neglected the Law. I can imagine that their grief and guilt combined could have been a real debilitating force, but their leader spoke truth and life.
And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Nehemiah 8:10
The holy book tells us our strength comes from joy. Our joy comes from God. My joy and my strength come from the God who loves me.
Today if you are struggling to embrace joy in the middle of your loss begin by letting go of the guilt that keeps you from taking a step in joy’s direction. Let go and allow God to bless you. Allow God’s glory to be revealed. We can still have our moments of sorrow, but even in the sorrow, there can be joy.