This year has been something else. In the last few months, my wife and I have said goodbye to a number of friends in ministry – people I would call “fox-hole friends.”
The other day, we were talking about it and realized that our lives have gone from weddings to baby showers to funerals. Now, that’s not to be morbid – it’s a quite natural progression that all of us take.
These experiences help me realize there is one emotion common at all three – joy.
Sure there is sadness. At the weddings, the sadness is about a son or daughter moving off to get married with a tinge of missing those growing up years. And, at the baby showers, you can see sadness from individual stories of childlessness or tragedy. And, of course, the funerals are packed with sadness because of the finality of death and the separation – though temporary – that it brings.
But there is joy. And over this year, I’ve come to realize that joy is strongest when the hurt is deepest.
Enjoy the weddings and baby showers. They are a wonderful part of growing up as friends and family get married and start their own families. The relationships formed during these years will bring joy for the rest of your lives.
But live your life in preparation for the funerals. Keep your accounts current. Live with eternity in view. Understand how temporary it all is and try to gauge just how quickly it all is passing by.
The years fly by as the hours drag on.
Joy will be found in the places where hope is all we have.
Mike Harland is the Director of Lifeway Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.