Sometimes when I ask my daughter a question about how she feels about something she will reply “Both”.
I don’t remember when she started using that word as an answer, but I do recall that I understood her sentiment immediately. It became her way of saying that she had mixed feelings…that the answer wasn’t so black and white. She could have feelings both positive and negative at the same time.
Perhaps this explains why I can’t seem to get past the lyrics from “When I survey the wondrous cross” that we sang during Palm Sunday service. The Mingled feelings of love and sorrow.
It seems like a life theme…especially when journeying with disabilities. Yesterday, as I watched the Notre Dame cathedral fire, I was reminded of the day I began to finally understand how two opposite feelings can live together in my heart. Specifically Joy and Suffering. It was on September 11 as I watched the twin towers burn and fall. Everything felt eerie and I was already overwhelmed caring for twin babies with cerebral palsy, but I wasn’t scared. I realized then that the difficult, sometimes sorrowful, days endured had produced a reconing in my life with my maker. I knew whose I was. That recognition brought me peace and joy. I finally understood the verse
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience” (v. 2).– James 1:2–8
That’s not to say that the suffering feels good. That would be ridiculous. But rather that I can choose to consider the bigger picture and see how the suffering is sanctifying me and changing my perspective. There lies the joy.
And, as He does, Jesus was gracious and provided the example for me. The way to go.
Let us keep on running the race marked out for us.Hebrews 12:1-2
2Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the author of faith. He also makes it perfect. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I am most certain I am in for a lifetime of Mingled feelings…of “both”.
I am curious, when have you found moments of Joy and Pain? Love and Suffering? I often have them during the girls’ accomplishments, like a Unified Sports event, or while enjoying someone else’s highlights reel. Moments when I remember things aren’t going the way we expected but we are still ok. When is it for you? How do you find the endurance to run your race?