I just finished watching a very short video by John Piper on sorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to post it here at the end, but who knows.
It was about letting yourself weep for things you have lost, or things you have not had. I seriously doubt he’s talking about an iPhone or a car.
The video almost made my cry as I realized that it is okay to be sad sometimes. It’s okay to miss my childhood in Missouri, my early teen years here in Arkansas. It’s okay to miss things.
And it’s okay to miss what God has decided to not give me, either ever or simply at this time.
Mr. Piper said at the end of this video that we need to remember that God will not withhold any good thing from his children.
That means that it is good that I have not had a lot of close friends. That means it is good my friends have moved. That means it is good that I have never been asked out by a guy.
Okay, time for a mind explosion.
That means that my life… my life has been good.
And that doesn’t mean it hasn’t also been hard.
Yes, of course, looking at my family, my history, 99% of people would say I have led an idyllic life and so how dare I say all this- obviously God has blessed me. I know. I know.
But for the moment, can we ignore that?
Because it has been hard. I could not imagine experiencing the things my stronger friends or family members have gone through. But for me, for the way God designed me, yes, there have been hard times.
But overall, for the simple reason that God does not withhold any good thing from us, my life has been good.
And that… is a revelation.
It is good that I am not in film school. It is good that I am not studying political science. It is good that I am not studying music.
It is good that I am in the exact situation I’m in with my church home. It is good that I am going to Texas to see my best friends, my cousins-not-by-blood. It is good that I am still talking to my friend with so many issues.
Because my God is good. All of the time.
His plans are perfect, created before time began, and they cannot be derailed. Not even by me.
And yet, it is okay if I cry. God is not angry at me for mourning what I’ve lost or haven’t yet had. He does not want me to live in sorrow, but it is alright if I have to visit there sometimes.
It is good that I can and do cry.
And it is good that I can and do laugh.
Here is the transcript of what Mr. Piper shared:
“Occasionally, weep deeply over the life that you hoped would be. Grieve the losses. Feel the pain. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life that he’s given you.
The reason for that counsel is 1 Thessalonians 4:13, where Paul says, “We do not want you to be uninformed . . . about those who are asleep” — about those who have died — “that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.” So, there’s real grieving, which he expects, and there’s hope. Grieving is real, losses are real, pain is real — really felt, really expressed — and hope is real that changes it profoundly.
I have in mind two kinds of losses: those who had something precious and lost it, and those who hoped for something precious and never had it. It works both ways. Sixty years go by, and forty years on you think, “I’ve come to terms with that,” and then one morning it breaks over you, and you weep about a 40-year old loss, or a 40-year “never have,” and my counsel is, yes, go ahead, embrace that moment. Weep.
But then, say to your weeping after a season, “No. You will not define me, sorrow, because my God has said, ‘No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly’ (Psalm 84:11). Therefore, even though it was good in one sense, and I miss it in one sense, I trust my God, and he has not withheld anything that is good for me.” Yes, let there be weeping in those seasons — feel the losses. Then wash your face, trust God, and embrace the life he’s given you.”
The life that God is now allowing me to live-
It is good.
It is right.
I know it will still be hard at times, and gloriously happy at others.
But I will never stop trusting God. I will never stop trusting His plan. I will embrace the life- the gift- that He has given me, and I will not let my visits with sorrow turn into my home. I will share my sorrow with the Lord, so that I do not rail against Him in anger when things bottle up. I will let His word hold me up and refresh me. I will go to Him for comfort- not the world.
Not unbelieving friends or family members.
I will go to Him.
Because I can trust Him- because I know this sorrow, these tears and their cause-
I know that it is good and right.