Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Concurrent Streams of Joy and Sorrow

by Danetta Kellar

I once saw a sight most strange. 

In the deep woods of the mountains where we summered in my childhood, two streams flowed side by side, separated by a narrow, rocky ledge embedded in dark rich earth. One raged wide, its waters noisily churning up the dark and decaying debris of seasons past. The other ran slow and narrow, quiet and clear. In its depths sparkled gold and silver stars, reflecting the bright light of the sun. 

Dark and brooding, flowing beside calm and glittering, these waters fascinated me. While cousins and uncles fished, I wandered the banks of this magical anomaly. As I tracked the streams upward, I found the two emerged from one wide place in the river. There at the source, the water happily danced and burbled in the dappled sunlight that spilled forth through a canopy of ancient oaks. The changing, beautiful nature of the river was entrancing, and in my mind’s eye, I can see it still. 

Like the waters in my childhood memory, there are two streams that will eventually run concurrently through all our hearts. We may find them strange, difficult to explain.

One flows wide and raging, churning up debris from the depths. 

It is a stream of sorrow, a stream of suffering, a stream of churning tumult that marks the difficult passages of our lives. 

But right alongside it, quiet and clear, is another stream.

Its gentle waters reflect the sunlight, and in its depths we see the glimmers of those gifts that are imperishable, eternal. It is a stream of joy that flows ever downward to the deepest places, filling all the cracks and crevices carved by our pain. 

Side by side, Joy and Sorrow, concurrent streams, flow from a common River. That River’s source is at the throne of God, and its waters contain life even when death seems to surround us. 

We marvel at this wonder. 

How can sorrow churn so terribly through our souls, yet joy sing its quiet melody in the deepest places of our pain? 

In the midst of pain, we feel His presence. We know we are upheld, but we don’t understand how. We feel the Rock beneath us, but the world is quaking. This is the privilege of the suffering ones who know the Lord. This is our song in the night. Our God is faithful. And He promises never to leave us or forsake us. 

Are you laboring in the night watches of life right now? Is your soul weighed down with sorrow? 

Listen for the quiet song of the concurrent stream. You must peer deeply to see its glimmer. In its depths are the shining promises of God. He is the one who holds you now, the one who gives you the strength to stand though you want to collapse. He is the One who causes the sun to rise again and the birds to sing new songs of hope every morning.

There is a River whose streams make glad the city of God, the secret place, where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Psalm 46:4-5

Lord, thank you for the concurrent streams of Joy and Sorrow. Revive us with the waters of joy at times when we feel our souls may be carried away by the raging torrent of sorrow. Amen.


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