Where Joy and Grief Meet

Anne Witton 2 weeks ago
Blog 2 mins

I was a romantic and idealistic teenager. I was always writing poetry and songs, dreaming of when I’d meet the love of my life and be able to write poetry and songs for her. I always wanted to be part of a love story. I think we all do.

Being a Christian means that I’ve found myself caught up in a cosmic love story that will last for eternity. Most of the time I find my relationship with God richly satisfying. There’s literally nothing else in the world that compares to the crazy joy of being close to God. But that doesn't mean that there isn't sorrow and deep pain. I have had to give up other lovers, I have had to step back from friendships, I’ve had to say no to romance with another human being. There’s a deep sorrow and grief in that.

I've found that Jesus is the only place where joy and grief meet and my heartache is understood and soothed.

But I've also found that Jesus is the only place where joy and grief meet and my heartache is understood and soothed. It’s the one love story that truly does have an eternal happy ending and we don’t have to wait until the new creation to enjoy it. God knows how many hairs are on my head (Luke 12:7), and it occurred to me recently that I don’t even know how many hairs are on my head. God knows things about me that I don’t know about myself, so it makes sense to trust the one who fathoms me completely and loves me perfectly (Jeremiah 31:3; 1 John 3:16; Psalm 63:3).

God's been consistently showing his love to me in beautiful ways: through his word in the Bible, through my personal relationship with him, and through other Christians. I was at my friend's church in Worthing recently and they had some reflection time to remember those we’ve lost or are grieving for. I lit a candle to give God the grief over lost friends and lovers. I got back to my seat and the band played the worship song 'The Goodness of God'; I just got overwhelmed with emotion and couldn't stop crying. On either side of me was a wonderful same-sex attracted friend and as we stood there worshipping, I had an overwhelming experience of God's delight in us. All three of us know the pain of giving up those we love in order to follow Jesus, but we also know the inexplicable joy that can only come from being found in him and being loved by him. I was experiencing utter joy and utter grief at the same time, knowing the reality that Jesus is right there in my suffering, giving me the peace which passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

After the service, a lady called Linda came up and pressed a wooden holding cross into my hands. She said she'd been praying before church and God had told her that she'd meet someone who needed to know that God is always there. I was so touched (especially as I'd actually been thinking of buying a holding cross). Our wonderful father knows what we need! And best of all, my perfect lover – Jesus himself ­– is always there through all the joys and sorrows of life (Deuteronomy 31:8).