Joy and Sorrow: An Unlikely, Inseparable Pair.

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing. II corinthians 6:10 (NIV)

I can think of no more odd couple than joy and sorrow. Well, maybe avocado and chocolate…which is, apparently, a thing. 

Few scriptures grate a sorrowful soul immersed in tears faster than “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds…” James 1:2, NIV 

Joy and sorrow. Two diametrically opposed emotions that’d be better matched in a the form of a question, allowing me to pick…

Joy or sorrow?

It doesn’t take a genius to determine which emotion is preferable. 

When joy is my companion I see the empty cross of Christ, His fully resurrected body now robed in glory. I see the golden crown on His head, face radiant, serene, and victorious, eyes blazing white, and a sword in hand.

My steps are light and outlook is cheery. My desire to serve and willingness to accept help is vigorous.

I get things accomplished at a steady and productive pace. Relationships are formed and nurtured. Maybe even a cleaner house (don’t hold your breath). My belly feels full and satisfied. Chocolate tastes sweeter, flowers smell deeply fragrant. Brilliant sunshine and promise fills the sky, no matter the time of year.

But when sorrow is my companion, I see the beaten and bruised, humbled carpenter falsely accused and enduring a humiliating crucifixion. Looks nothing of the hero He is.

Feet heavy and muscles achy, I trudge through long and trying days. Hope is real but distant and speechless, returning only a dim smile and shrug. The smell of despair hangs thick beneath skies shrouded in gray, no matter the time of year.

So how can uniting sorrow to joy possibly offer more than joy alone? I’d opt for divorce court. Anyone? 

Without experiencing sorrow I can know joy, but it won’t be joy to the full as Jesus intended.

I have come that they may have life; and have it to the full. John 10:10

And without experiencing joy I’d cave under the weight of sorrow.

Each contributes. Each meets a need. Each is essential. Like a properly functioning, healthy marriage.

Together they create the perfect image of God in His unmatched glory Who—for the joy set before Him—bore our sins on the cross, scorned the shame, and sat down in victory at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy. II Corinthians 6:10 (The Message)

In the school of sorrow, I’m never alone in the classroom. Joy is there, making lessons bearable and lasting and effective. 

Joy and sorrow. What’s your experience with the unlikely, inseparable pair? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading!

Mary

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2 Comments

  1. It’s the contrast, isn’t it? Joy is that much greater having known sorrow. Sorrow is that much more bearable having known joy.
    When my father passed, our sorrow was tempered by knowing his immediate joy and relief. That’s my strongest experience of this pairing.
    “Though the sorrow may last for the night, joy comes in the morning.”

    • Mary Felkins says:

      Love the scripture you shared. Amen for joy in the morning! Thankful you have assurance of your father’s eternal destiny and that he’s experiencing immediate joy and relief.

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