Is it just me, or does it seem like every time things start to look up in your world, it’s almost immediately followed by a big, proverbial waah-waah?
Like literally yesterday, after a phenomenal weekend of celebrating my 40th birthday, my boys started back to school and when my oldest (who is in 6th grade - aka THE WORST) came home, he brought with him a load of homework that should’ve taken an hour or less. But instead, I spent the hours between 4:00pm and 7:00pm working overtime to not say all the worst cuss words out loud in front of my child, because he had decided that everything else on planet earth was more important than his homework - “everything” meaning our dog, the smudges on the wall behind him, where the light in the window was coming from, and whether it’s been long enough since his last pack of fruit snacks to get another one.
Why is it that just when we enter into what feels like a season of good news, lurking just around the corner is some sort of bad news. Sometimes it’s silly, insignificant things like my situation yesterday. But other times it’s not so silly.
Between Thanksgiving and Christmas this past year, things in my own personal world experienced an enormous shift that would leave me in a place vocationally that I’ve dreamed of for as long as I can remember dreaming. However, in the other corner of the ring that is my life, my sweet husband is enduring the most trying season of work that he’s ever had to deal with and for the most part, it is succeeding at robbing every ounce of joy and peace in our home that it can.
For some other friends of ours, in the midst of celebrating and gearing up for the birth of their 2nd baby later this spring, they suddenly lost their two year old son. So for them, excitement and expectation has been replaced with devastation and grief. Yet each day they fight. They fight for hope and joy and love and the future.
I think that part of this strange cycle can be chalked up to life just being life. But I also can’t help but wonder if some of it has to do with the unseen, spiritual battle waging around us every single day specifically against those of us who serve the local church and strive to abide in the kingdom.
Paul reminds us:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
- Ephesians 6:12
But Jesus also said:
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
- John 16.33
So while I would love to tell you that this piece is full of tips on how to avoid the bad news so that you can relish the good, alas it is not. But what I would like to do is encourage you, my brothers and sisters in ministry, to remember and bank on a few things.
You are not alone! Not only do you have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, giving you the power to endure it all, you are surrounded by a host of others who are experiencing the same dichotomy of good and bad, victory and loss, rejoicing and mourning. You have not somehow been singled out to be forgotten by the Father.
Leaning is not weakness! Even Moses had to rely on Aaron and Hur when his arms grew weak. God gives us people to press into so that we don’t have to carry our burdens alone. We at All About Worship would love to be that for those of you out there on the front lines where perhaps there isn’t a ready stock of support.
There is an “other side”! Jesus’ promise to us holds all the weight that we need to endure the days that seem riddled with bad news. When we take each circumstance to Him, His response is “Done! I’ve overcome it!” That doesn’t mean we immediately feel relief and things are resolved. But sometimes, knowing that truth helps us take the next breath, gives us what we need to press forward, and believe that He’s still in control.
Rejoicing and mourning can coexist! When something good is followed by something not-so-good, don’t overlook the victory. The enemy would love to see us move right past celebrating and acknowledging something God provided or did for us into dwelling on the negative. But it’s important that we delight in and make much of the moments when God shows his faithfulness and favor. Sometimes, those moments are what will carry us through the hard ones.
As long as we are on this side of heaven, good news and bad news will always live next door to one another and there really is nothing we can do about that. What we can do though is steady our hearts to be ready for both at any given moment. We do that by arming ourselves with the truths and promises in His Word, by surrounding ourselves with others to fight alongside, by worshiping even when it doesn’t make sense, and by praying first in every situation.
If there is ever a way that All About Worship can come alongside you as you make your way through the up and down seasons of ministry life, never hesitate to reach out on here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on social media. We are for you and will do whatever we can to support you in your various places. Feel free to comment below specific ways we can be praying for you in the coming weeks.