Simultaneously, this has been a year concentrated with new babies entrusted to many who are dear to us. For several of the people who have committed to mourning with us, their lives have also been filled with great joy over the gift of new life this year.
This has caused me to think a great deal about the Romans 12:15 passage where we are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those who mourn.” Prior to losing Judson, the difficult part of this passage, as I read it, was to mourn with those who mourn. I knew how hard it was to enter into someone else’s pain and feel with them, but I could not understand why God would need to admonish people to rejoice. How hard could it be to rejoice with those who are rejoicing?!!!?
I have since learned that the first part of that verse was written to me, the person living in a state of sorrow. Just as I am desperate for others to join me in my pain, I am called to join others in their joy. The call to mourn with those who mourn may be written in Scripture because it can be hard to do, but so also is rejoicing with those who rejoice written because it too, can be a challenge in certain seasons of life.
But I want to do it. I want to celebrate with my friends who are celebrating. I want to sing with my friends who are singing. I want to skip with my friends who are skipping. Just as they have cried with me in my tears.
Admittedly, there are times this is difficult, sometimes because I am just too sad but other times the challenge stems from a heart prone toward jealousy. It is all too easy to look at others and desire their life circumstance over my own. This is a hindrance to genuine love. My life circumstance is what it is, whether or not my neighbor has a different set of circumstances. And comparing the two is only valuable if it brings me to my knees in gratitude for what I have been given. But if it keeps me from celebrating the joys of my neighbor, I know I am walking a very unhealthy path.
I pray for true joy to authentically flow out of my love for those dear to me, unhindered by sin. I want to genuinely rejoice with those who are rejoicing, not out of necessity, but out of love. For I know how much it has meant for people to mourn with us out of a heart of compassion, rather than a sense of duty.
The gift in this command, as I am discovering, is that the more I rejoice with those who are rejoicing, the more genuine joy engulfs my heart.
Lord, please continue to bring joy to my heart, especially through the joys of others!
And could there be anything more amazing than new life? Here are just a handful of the precious babies that have brought joy to my life since Judson’s death.
Abigail Mary Jones
Carter Luke and Connor James Baesel
Snowflake Embryo Adoption
Nathanael Gennaro Hill
Seth Judah Perez
Ella Jean Olson
And there are many more impending births—we cannot wait to meet your little ones!