The baby’s first cry gave fullness of joy but did I forget the pain of pushing? Crossing the finish line brought joy of the victory but did I forget the ache of my lungs and the leaden muscles in my legs?
There were tears of joy as I watched a friend bow before the Lord but did I forget the angry words and broken promises?
Joy is the peach ripe on the tree, rich with flavor and juice. Why would I be content with plucking it green? Silver is pitted and stained if taken too soon.
“What leaves you broken - in the end it makes you better.” Plumb, no stranger to the agony of the heart, told us in her song Better.
A joy-laden tree beckons me closer. I want to grab the fruit and run. But I overlook the race and the pain and the fear. Or I see only the sorrow and the ache and wish to stay in this valley.
"The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." G. K. Chesterton understood the bitter-sweet tang of perseverance. Do we take the next step even when the pain pushes us back like a stiff wave in the tide?
When the time is ripe, the fruit is sweet and full. No longer does the hurt matter. I reach; I take. All sting is erased as the juice runs down my chin.
Jesus said it so well, as he warned his disciples of his fast-approaching death: there was a resurrection to follow.
“The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you'll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you.”