Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Even sorrow is joy

On Sunday afternoon, we attended a memorial service for Alex Moore, who died last month following complications after surgery. He was not quite 32; his first child is due in May.

It was a hard, beautiful, crowded service. We saw people we hadn’t seen in years. A considerable number of us at the service had at one time belonged to the same church, one that had seen an outpouring of members a decade or so ago. We were part of that diaspora. So many of us had joined different churches and gradually or suddenly lost touch. And there we were, together once again, uniting to honor the memory of a young man we knew.

The time for asking why had passed; now was the time for memories, tears, laughter, and hugs.

I thought a lot about that memorial service as I read the last chapter of Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption by Katie Davis and Beth Clark. For the last 20 weeks, led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been discussing this book of a young woman who leaves everything familiar behind to serve as a missionary in Uganda.

For the first few chapters, I fretted over her attitude about home, but she (and I) got over it. She’s been through some extraordinary experiences, and in this last chapter, she doesn’t let herself or the reader off easily. No platitudes here. Instead, she has to face and ultimately accept the removal of one her children from their home. The girl had been abandoned by her birth mother as a baby and legally adopted by Katie. But the birth mother reappears, claiming her child, and the court eventually agrees.

And Katie has to watch as the child, little Jane, leaves their family to go with their birth mother and an uncertain future. Katie grieves; it is a kind of death. Katie accepts what she must, just as Alex Moore’s parents had to accept what they must. The circumstances are different, but there comes a point when we have to face a hard, unyielding truth: someone or something will not change; a loved one is gone; something is lost.

Katie, all of 22 when this happens, knows to turn to God. But she’s human, and she grieves, and in her grief turns to Scripture, specifically Isaiah: “Surely just as I have intended so it has happened and just as I have planned so it will stand” (14:24). “My good God gives only good things;” she writes, “He planned this and He will use this. In Him, even sorrow is joy.”

He knows tragedies like what happened to Alex. “He will use this. In Him, even sorrow is joy.”

To read more posts on this chapter, please visit Jason at Connecting to Impact. And thanks to both him and Sarah for leading and hosting our discussion.


jasonS said...

It's His sorrow too and He comforts like no one else. My best friend growing up died last year at 33 and it was mind-boggling to consider, but still God met us and his family and strength comes as we wait on Him. Loss is certainly part of our existence, but restoration (however He chooses to do it) is His heart for us. Thanks so much for being a part of these discussions, Glynn. It has been a great blessing.

Anonymous said...

He does know our sorrow...