I hope you are well. In a roundabout way and a few days after Ash Wednesday, I decided to give up my Jackson Five posts for Lent. My family did a better job this year, than we ever have in the past, of observing Easter. Everyone gave up something for Lent, we attended some beautiful Holy Week services at church, and we watched The Passion as a family (until it was entirely too much for Sam and at that point we let him play mid-week NBA 2K instead, which is usually forebidden). I posted here on my blog 36 different readings or devotionals, falling four short of my goal. But mostly the whole season felt slower and more reflective than usual. We have a long way to go, but I feel like this year we moved in the right direction for preparing our hearts to celebrate Jesus’ victory over death.
That said, I look forward to my Friday indulgence and have missed posting. Oftentimes I would think, “Oooh, I’ll have to blog about that,” then I’d remind myself that I’d given it up. But I’m back. And I wish, probably like you, that every week would just be one fun little story after another. But we live in a fallen world. And every single day horrible things happen.
This week has been full of sorrow for many in our community because a boy named Jackson from Dub and Nate’s school disappeared in the Grand Canyon last Saturday. The intense search from the first days has been scaled back and it will be a miracle if they find him. But it seems all of Chattanooga is praying for this family, for the safe return of Jackson and his step-grandmother who is also missing. Various area schools have worn all blue to show solidarity in praying for Jackson. Opposing sports teams have prayed together after the game, begging God to bless this hurting mama with a tremendous miracle, an earthly reunion with her beautiful, beloved young son. This tragic situation makes me feel sick to think about and reminds me of another beautiful, beloved young boy who was swept away in a flash flood a few years back in Northern Virginia. Sometimes the sorrows of this world are unrelenting.
And yet at the very same time, families are celebrating the births of new babies. Couples continue getting married. Life marches on, and in some ways it feels wrong. I remember after my dad died feeling totally distraught in line at the post office. I almost wanted to yell out to everyone there, “Why are we all just marching on like nothing has happened? Don’t you realize that this whole world has changed?”
Every day life is full of tension, and yet the Bible tells us just how to resolve it. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
We may find ourselves oscillating between rejoicing and mourning as we go through the day. While it can feel emotionally draining, it’s always great to know we are aligned with the Word of God.
So, my friends, do not tire in doing good: Rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn.