How do you obey the biblical command to “rejoice with those who rejoice,” when rejoicing feels like a knife stabbing you in the heart?
The truth is sometimes it is just plain hard. Good news does not always come at convenient times. In fact, sometimes the news of a friend’s pregnancy comes right after you have spent the morning weeping over your own inability to conceive.
Sometimes the mother/daughter tea at church comes right after a low day of missing your own mom. This life is messy and sorrowful, something Paul understood when he wrote these words. Sometimes rejoicing with someone else means expressing genuine joy over their good blessing, while you wait bereaved and barren. This never negates the reality of our suffering, but it does help us to give honor where honor is due, especially on a day like Mother’s Day. Motherhood is a high and glorious calling. In a culture where motherhood is increasingly under attack, we should be the first to embrace and honor the gift of motherhood, even if it is a gift we have yet to receive.
But as Christians, we must remember that there is a second part to that command. As hard as it is to rejoice with someone who has something you don’t, it is equally if not more difficult to weep with those who weep, especially when their tragedy seems foreign to you. How do you weep alongside the weeping woman while you have a happy, healthy baby bouncing on your hip? The reality is that if your life is fairly blessed and carefree on Mother’s Day, it is a lot easier to obey the first part of Romans 12:15. Yet we should be the first to enter into the pain that this day so often brings to so many women. From sharing a Scripture with a grieving friend to giving a card to a woman who is struggling with infertility, simply acknowledging the ache that many face is obeying the command to “weep with those who weep.”
Motherhood is a great gift and calling, but it also bears the stamp of this fallen world. With the name “mother of all living” came the curse that the very thing we were created for would now be marred by death, pain, and loss. The answer is not to call for a moratorium on all celebrations. But nor is the answer to pretend like nothing is wrong.
Regardless of your situation this Mother’s Day, Romans 12:15 is true for you. It does not take away the pain you might feel. Nor does it diminish the joy you might feel. And if we were truly honest with ourselves, we would say that obeying this command in the thick of your pain or joy is virtually impossible. We need Christ’s help to enable us to serve one another well in every season of life. Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a time for everything, and Mother’s Day is no exception.
May our churches be a place where the glory of motherhood is upheld and honored, but the pain and sorrow of those who long for what they do not have is honored as well.
Thank you Courtney Reissig for sharing with us….