Joy’s Possibilities in the Belly of Grief

by Melissa Taft

by Steve Wickham

Seems a lambasting thought
that joy might be possible
deep in the belly of grief.
Think of it as access
to the otherwise inaccessible Spirit
when we most need relief.

There seems little to celebrate about grief, that lamentable position of situation or circumstance that lingers and tarries, always far longer into our exhaustion than it relents.

But it’s not until we’ve been there—cast against the rocks in the howling squall of loss; tossed violently by that horrendous milieu of life and kept there—that we recognise that at the end of us is the beginning of God.  We might otherwise fail to find our salvation.

Yet it never quite feels right to say it just like that, does it?

Be that as it may, we have the opportunity to juxtapose that change and indeed growth occurs serenely against the flow of our individual control, whereby our preference for and bias toward comfort so often works against the schema of God to take us into the divine.

Oh, how we hate and thereby avoid pain.  And yet out of being pushed and stretched and cajoled by loss, we gain access to the divinity ever beyond the horizon of our characteristic ease.

When suddenly we find ourselves backwashed into a place we can no longer deny or avoid–where we’re so weak we find nothing within us can resist the current underneath the groundswell of life’s rushing torrent–there’s one moment, perhaps, where joy becomes us, despite the horror of suffering that brought it to us.

It’s a moment that the light breaks through—and it only needs to be a moment.

One moment is all the testimony the light needs.  Once that light bores through, it leaves itself, embellished, a record on the memory, huh!  Such embellishment is of course welcome, for it is the very light of hope, an anchor with which to cling to in our distress.

Jesus’ Spirit overcoming,
not succumbing.

As disciples, we do have trouble in this world, yet, as John 16:33 states and the preceding seventeen verses contend, there is an abounding joy to be had for the hope set before each one of us—due even one encounter with the living Christ, not despite the pain of grief but because of it, founded within it.

We only need to have been there once, and the memory of such an event is a light that can’t be darkened.  Once for all time is the victory of Christ at Calvary, and once for all time is the victory we experience in encountering the living Christ, and it’s faith that compels us to relive such a glorious thought.

Joy is not only possible in grief,
it is found there in its purest form.

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