Day 8

Weeping and Rejoicing with Others

from the Mourning and Dancing reading plan

Psalm 22:24, John 11:28-44, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Matthew 11:28, Romans 12:12-15, Hebrews 10:24-25, 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

BY Claire Gibson

I stood with the other guests, sandals planted in the grass, finger pressed to the top of a can of Silly String, waiting in anticipation to see what emerged from the tip of the spout. Blue or pink? Blue or pink?

Time and time again for the previous eighteen months, my husband and I had experienced a similar suspense in the privacy of our own home, waiting for the results. One line or two? One line or two? But there were no shouts of joy or photos taken. No blue Silly String raining down on our heads. Just the sound of plastic hitting the bottom of a trash can as another month closed on our dreams.

As our friends learned they would soon welcome a baby boy, I grabbed my husband’s hand and dragged him through their master bedroom, bathroom, and into the closet—not totally weird, since this particular gender reveal also doubled as a housewarming party. The place still smelled like paint. In my friends’ walk-in closet, shoes lined shelves on the left and right, all in perfect rows. Without warning, I began to sob, crumbling into my husband’s shoulder, laughing and crying at the same time as I realized I wanted everything they have.

I’m not sure I know how to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. All too often, I do it all backwards, because this life is really, really hard, and I’m just barely keeping it together. I find I’m detached when others weep, never quite sure what to say or how to make it better. And I’m sad to say I’m jealous when others rejoice, disappointed with my own circumstances.

I’m even worse with my own pain, minimizing it because I don’t want to burden other people. Downplaying my successes because I don’t want to seem vain or selfish. And God’s call to walk alongside others in their deepest sorrow and joy seems almost impossible (Romans 12:12–15). So for better or for worse, I fake it the best I can, hoping that someday my feelings will catch up to my actions.

But I think God wants so much more than for me to ignore my emotions. And He is most definitely not asking me to “fake it ‘til I make it.” He’s calling me to real emotion—to the odd, uncomfortable reality of holding grief and joy at the same time, without minimizing either experience, naming the good, the bad, and the ugly. This means allowing myself to feel the depth of my pain, so that, when the time comes, I will know what it means to grieve with my friends.

Being honest and vulnerable with our emotions isn’t easy. But ultimately, if we are real with Him—and with each other—every grief and every joy can transform into a glimpse of redemption. If I let it happen, every affliction can give me a greater capacity to care for and understand someone else’s pain. Every joy I allow myself to fully experience can give me a greater capacity to dance at someone else’s wedding.

In 2017, we brought home our son through adoption; we are writing a new story from many broken pieces. And yet, our journey with infertility is not over. Our bodies still don’t do what others can. But I’m learning that Christ is the ultimate empathizer. No one weeps with us and rejoices with us like He does. “For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so our comfort overflows through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:5).

Post Comments (165)

165 thoughts on "Weeping and Rejoicing with Others"

  1. Shanna Hafemann says:

    I resonate with the piece of downplaying my pain or my joy. Emotions were never allowed in my home growing up & so I assumed that they weren’t allowed with Jesus.

    A piece of the story of Lazarus stood out differently than ever before:
    32Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

    I remember hearing that awful phrase, “don’t be a Martha.” And I also remember people like Thomas being criticized for his doubt. So when I read this, I am perplexed, that it was Mary (the good one) who questions Jesus and he did not scold her! In fact we know that Jesus wept with her. How compassionate of him. To know he was & could raise Lazarus from the dead yet he still weeped with Mary.

    This is so incredibly beautiful. May I learn to come to Jesus exactly as I am. And trust that isn’t waiting to reprimand me for my pain or joy but he is waiting to mourn & rejoice with me.

  2. Tracey Kapitz says:

    As I walk through the grief of losing my mom I’ve noticed that majority of people don’t know how to walk alongside someone in grief. They either avoid or try to fix. Neither is helpful. You can’t fix something that is gone. I’m experiencing the first round of major holidays without both my parents as a single 30 something. It’s hard when you’ve got more in common with your friends parents then you do your friends. If you’re struggling with grief or you’re supporting someone who is I recommend the website and the book It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok by Megan Devine. Very helpful.

  3. Tiffany Murray says:

    I feel this deeply, on many different levels. My husband had a vasectomy from a previous marriage and 5 (ish) years ago we decided to have it reversed so we could have a child together (we both have children from previous spouses but none together). In September of 2014 he had the reversal, in December we found out my mother had brain cancer that would ultimately take her from us the following November. I put a hold on trying during this time, and after I was so full of grief over losing my mother I couldn’t think of it…and when I was ready to try again, my husband was not. He had decided he no longer wanted a child because he was “too old”. I see every pregnancy announcement and birth with happiness, but also a longing for what I’ll never have now. I know things happen for a reason, and if another child isn’t what’s in store for me then God must have other plans – but it’s hard anyways.

  4. Melissa Mcronney says:

    This reading came on time. Thank you Jesus

  5. Jessie Motley says:

    It’s been so difficult to rejoice for others this year. It’s been almost a year of separation with my husband and every day seems to have a new set of challenges. I find it easy to weep with people because I can cry at the drop of a hat nowadays….but I find myself finding it hard to weep over their problems without focusing on my own. Rejoicing with friends who are engaged or getting married or having babies is hard because all I want is just a little bit of the happiness they are experiencing. I feel like I’ll never be happy again. This devotional has come at such a perfect time in my life and I thank you for sharing your struggles about finding weeping and rejoicing for/with others a challenge. It’s nice to know you’re never alone.

  6. DENISE says:

    Today really opened my eyes to the fact that although I can feel sad for someone’s situation or be happy for them, my emotions are very surface ones and I get in the way of myself which really gets in the way of weeping and rejoicing with others. My own self agenda.. My jealousy and being self centered. I’m so thankful for this reading because it brought clarity to an area in my life that I need to pray and ask God to help me with.

  7. Stacey says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your truth and being so authentic with this very relatable reality in struggling with empathizing and celebrating with others. How amazing that Jesus blesses us with family and friends to carry each other’s burdens and be there for one another through the good and bad, just as he is with us. It is all to easy to dwell on the negative and the things we miss out on but I choose to look to my saviour and be thankful for what I do have. God I pray that you would help me to be authentic with myself and others, to celebrate and weep with those around me just as you do with me. Amen.

  8. Abby says:

    I love this. I have struggled with rejoicing with others when something good happens. I lost two grandparents within 6 months and the second one was a week before my high school graduation. I felt so hurt and betrayed that they would never be there to see my life accomplishments and two years later, I am still struggling to be around other people’s grandparents or be happy during the holidays. This definitely encourages me. This whole series has been perfect for me and I’m so glad to read it every day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *