Read Ecclesiastes 3:1,4
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance, (NIV)
It is a bit of a cliché to say that life has its seasons. This passage in Ecclesiastes is famous for describing this reality. But we might simply focus on one small segment of the longer passage and make one suggestion: that weeping and laughing, mourning and dancing can sometimes touch and shape one another.
Life is not so neat as to allow us to weep for a week then laugh for a week. Life is not all mourning and then all dancing. They all get mixed in together. They can even begin to resemble one another. In remembering a time with someone no longer with us we may laugh at a happy memory and weep that there will be no more such times. The memories are bittersweet. We finally achieve great success in a long-term project and our ‘dancing’ in celebration is mingled with a mourning that a large and interesting phase of our life is now behind us.
Our God doesn’t have some neatness fetish whereby he comes alongside us and carefully delineates the threads of sadness or gladness. He knows they can’t be so easily separated. He knows our lives don’t consist of hermetically sealed compartments of joy or despondency. He rather comes to us in the mess and mystery of everyday living and promises to give meaning to our mourning and our dancing, our weeping and our laughing. He is no ‘fairweather’ God, a sort of cosmic cheerleader who bids us dry our eyes and be happy. Nor is he some gloomy divine spectre who glumly holds our hands when life hurts.
Our God is a God for all seasons. Even for those seasons when we aren’t quite sure what season we are in.