Sunshine and Rain
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Hear on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT
March 13, 2020. It was his last morning waking up in our home as a single man. From my bed, I could hear laughter, joking and bumping against the walls, the usual banter between Seth and Claire. She had jumped on her brother’s back. They were laughing and playfully tussling. My son was leaving our home to start his own. Things would never be the same. In 24 hours, he would be married to a beautiful young woman, and they would create their own nest. I was no longer anticipating the change. I was experiencing it in my heart.
Experiencing the change was emotional. I felt it deep in my heart. Opposing emotions rose up – feelings of sadness and happiness. I was already missing my son, hearing his voice within our walls every morning. At the same time, I couldn’t help but be so proud of him. I cherished in my heart great hope for my son and his wife’s future.
Life brings many moments of joy and pain. The substance of joy and pain often are wrapped in one package. Isn’t it easier to just feel one emotion? Joy or pain? To be sad or happy? The truth is that we are usually living with both joy and pain. They are like sunshine and rain, opposites co-existing together. Both are a constant in our life experience. Both are necessary for our existence, to grow us, nourish us, strengthen us.
Change and challenges are like sunshine and rain. They often produce joy and pain. God is the only constant. He is unchanging. He is our anchor. Steady. Sure. Loving. Faithful.
I thought a good life was one without sadness or pain. My expectations were so off. Like you, I have faced many life challenges. The elation of birthing children, and the labor of raising them. The devastation of grief, and the beauty of new beginnings. Life-altering health conditions and seasons of great favor. The bliss of marriage, and the struggle of managing life together. The happiness of singleness, and the aching of loneliness.
Life is full of change and challenges, joy and pain. We don’t get to choose to have all of either. Life sees to it that we have both. If we had all joy and no pain, we would live a life of total comfort. Nothing and no one else would matter. Peter wanted to pitch a tent on the Mount of Transfiguration, where he witnessed a glimpse of Jesus’ glory. “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will put up three shelters …” Matthew 17:4 NIV.
With the right circumstances, favor and good choices, can’t we, shouldn’t we, live on the mountaintop? I expected to live in a joy bubble. There is no such place on Earth, no such promise. Jesus made it clear. In this world, you will have troubles, change, challenges.
“Every test that you have experienced is the kind that normally comes to people. But God keeps His promise, and He will not allow you to be tested beyond your power to remain firm. At the time you are put to the test, He will give you the strength to endure it, and so provide you with a way out.” I Cor 10:13 GNT
God is our anchor. We can trust Him. We get to experience the glory of His presence on mountain tops and in valleys. He is in the midst of our joy and our pain. “Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 GNT
Life Connection: Count on having sunshine and rain. Expect to experience joy and pain. Embrace them both. Allow yourself to fully experience them. Yet, stay anchored in the Lord. Keep your eyes on Him.