Holding Joy and Sorrow

I recently received sad news about the death of a friend’s son. My heart felt so heavy this morning, but I still had to start my semester at Penn State. I asked God this question: “How can I teach my classes when I am also grieving with my friend?”

I turned to Matthew 14 where Jesus has withdrawn to grieve the death of his friend John the Baptist. Jesus must immediately turn around and feed the waiting crowd. He is grieving but is at the same time stirred to compassion and love for the people. He multiplied limited resources (5 loaves and 2 fish) and the people “ate and were satisfied.”

I thanked God that he can take our limited capacity when we have sorrow and multiply it to bless and satisfy the “crowd” of students.

I also talked to a mentor who reminded me that “deep sorrow can exist with even deeper joy” (from Sarah Young). I’m beginning to learn that the journey of Christian maturity, especially as you enter into the lives of others, involves holding sorrow and joy in tension every day of your life.

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