Just yesterday I tossed the football with the guys in my family, sun peeking through the trees at dusk – my favorite time of evening. We had just stood statue-still during family pictures, so you can imagine the storehouses of pent-up energy we were waiting to let loose. After a couple of run-ins with a chubby pine tree and a few belly flops in the grass, we ended the night in side-splitting laughter.
How strange, then, to go to sleep with joy and wake up to sorrow with the news of Las Vegas this morning.
Joy to sorrow; sorrow back to joy. Our lives ebb and flow with this pattern, and every time it does, it shocks us. I think John Piper sums it up with his words about this strange balance:
“Sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” How can that be? It can be because Christ is supreme over all things forever, but suffering and death remain for a while. Life is not simple. There is pleasure, and there is pain. There is sweetness, and there is bitter suffering. There is joy, and there is misery. There is life and health, and there is disease and death. And therefore emotions are not simple. For those who love others, and not just their own comforts, this complexity means that we will rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). And there is always someone we know who is weeping, and someone we know who is rejoicing. And therefore we will learn the secret of “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” — and joyful yet always sorrowing. Those amazing words that describe the Christian soul — “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” — mean that suffering remains for a while in this world, but Christ is supreme now and forever.
As we bow our heads in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Las Vegas, let us ask for two things:
That our hearts grieve with them as they mourn their losses, and that our hearts rejoice in the infinite hope of a Savior who has overcome the dark valleys of this world.
*If you know someone in the middle of this crisis that needs help, here are some resources*
Families trying to locate missing loved ones can call 1-866-535-5654. If you have photos or videos from the shooting, you can call 1-800-255-5324. And if you’d like to donate blood to the injured victims, you can visit the Labor Health & Welfare Clinic.