When I was younger, I thought it was so boring how adults seemed to always comment on or have lengthy discussions on the weather. I thought, Surely the weather isn’t that interesting. So what if it rains one day and not the next?
And then the subtle metamorphous happened in my own life where I went from not caring or talking about the weather to talking about and marveling at the changes in the weather. It truly is fascinating, frustrating, and impacting to our everyday lives.
Being a South Florida transplant to Colorado, I still make my fair share of groans against the weather. I lament not having a spring, I shed tears when it snows in May, and I loathe that summer is so short and winter so long. As is the running joke in many places, Colorado definitely qualifies as a state where we truly can have all four seasons in one day.
Stretched as the connection may seem, I think King Solomon knew a little something about four seasons in one day. In the Book of Ecclesiastes, he (yes, Solomon, not the band The Byrds from the 1960s as I naively once thought) famously penned these words:
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).
I’ve been mentally planted lately on verse 4: “A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” I’ve been thinking how so often, as believers with great hope, these seasons and times are not separate, but they are constantly overlapping one another; time after time congruent with our lives. In every single day, there are reasons to mourn and reasons to rejoice.
Many of my dear friends and family have been walking through difficult seasons recently. Loss of loved ones, terminal news, aging parents, family strife, disappointments, etc. Simultaneously, other friends and family have received joyous news, things working out when they seemingly shouldn’t, sale of homes, downright miracles, God’s faithfulness and provision displayed, and other reasons for expressing happiness.
It’s difficult for our human hearts to share in someone else’s joy when we feel grief, and likewise, it’s not as easy to deeply grieve when our lives are filled with joy, but I am becoming convinced that doing so is a fine balance and act of spiritual growth that will ultimately allow us to experience the true fullness of life.
Joy doesn’t negate the pain of grief and grief doesn’t restrict (unless we allow it to) the feelings of joy. We know that the Lord gives and takes, and yet He is to remain blessed (Job 1:21), and so we can remain hopeful in both times of crying and times of laughing – but because this isn’t our natural inclination and goes against our human response, sometimes we just have to will ourselves to that place.
As I simultaneously carry the burden of disappointment and loss for some of my family and friends and celebrate the victories of others, I am forced to a place of acknowledging that happiness and sorrow work hand-in-hand and that the danger to our own hearts is when we ignore one to place it higher than the other. Each day brings opportunities to be happy and to be sad, and with either, the opportunity to respond with genuine thanks knowing that God has given us both, so that we may bless Him, understand Him, and be quickened to remember that the experiences of today are just a foretaste of what’s to come when He restores all things under a divine and perfect plan where we will see purpose in pain and our current joy will be only a shadow to everlasting bliss.
Johanna Inwood is a South Florida transplant now living in Colorado Springs, Colo. with her husband, Tim. She works in marketing for a Christian publishing house. Learn more about her at johannainwood.com.