He placed a joyful song in my heart which had been so filled with sadness and hurt. But He didn’t take away all the pain. Instead, He tapped the joy that lay beneath the ache and tears in the well that was even more fathomless than I imagined. He overwhelmed me with love. My wounds were no hindrance to His love or to the love He brought me in Christian community — I am still just a people and I need people. He knows that and provides brothers and sisters who love me as if I am one of the family. It still boggles my mind but I’m learning to accept it. My family is dead. My family is alive and much bigger than I knew. It breaks my heart in the best way possible and releases more joy. The pain, while real, is, in comparison, tiny.
My Friend isn’t what we’d call nice. (But then, neither would Phronsie more than 100 years ago.) In fact, I can only claim Him as “my Friend” because He chose to befriend me and I said, “Yes.” But I can’t pretend I knew what I was doing. He didn’t choose me because I’m anything special; He is the same God who told me my life is worth no more than the lives of every other person He has created, the same God who left me with hateful people for eleven years, the same God who allowed others to kill my family. And, He is the same God who values me as much as every other person He has created, He is the same God who used those eleven years to teach me to fight my own sadness and protect me from pain I was much too small to face. He is the same God who used my curiosity to help me forgive, love, and pray for those I wanted zapped out of existence. Not nice. Glorious. Before I was old enough to understand, God took my hand and brought me into the heady swirl of His banquet. We’ve danced and feasted and waited for the next course together. He trusted me to see that He has done well. I do see it. Thanks be to God! I do see it.
He chose me for the same reason He chooses everyone else. I need Him. That’s all I have, all I’ll ever have. Need. My need is as deep as my joy. I need the One who loves me even though it’s not always pleasant, for Him or for me. I need the One who trusts me to turn to Him when I’m in pain, when I’m happy, when life is mundane.
“When a woman is in travail she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world.” (John 16:21) That’s what I needed, the tremendous joy that comes after great travail. That’s what He made me able to accept and what He gives me. Isn’t that what we all need? Don’t we all long for the joy that is infinitely greater than our pain? Don’t we all long for “the glorious liberty of the children of God”? Don’t we want to blend our voices and sing the music in our hearts as we dance with joy?
When God asked me, “Can you be happy without knowing everything?” I said, “Yes.” I had sung and danced and swum joy, even with pain in my heart. Of course, I could be happy. I just didn’t know how to do it when not singing, dancing, or swimming. He did. He does. And I am happy again. The music in my heart is no longer limited to dirges. To a Bossa Nova beat, eminently suitable for dancing, I now sing, “Heaven and earth are full of Your glory! Hosanna in the highest!”