A Story of Friendship and Finding Joy in the Sorrow
Nobody really knows for sure what heaven looks like, but occasionally God gives us a picture of what heaven may be like.
Recently, some good friends of ours have been going through a tough time, to say the least. The husband has been diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s. He has been unable to move around very well and our friends have not been able to attend our mutual church.
Because of these circumstances, the church choir (which this couple used to sing with and my husband is an active member) decided to visit their house to encourage them with singing.
A True Friend
I do not sing in the choir. However, the wife is a good friend of mine. We used to share an hour and a half long walks at least weekly, rain or shine, cold or hot.
Our friendship first kindled when we went on a medical trip to Peru several years back together. We have been friends ever since.
She has been my mentor, friend, and confidante. She has helped me talk through times of trouble and times of laughter and times of tears.
Unfortunately, since my friend’s husband has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, we have not been able to get together as much.
In spite of the unintentional distance, I think about my friend often and we have tried several times to get together. Life always seems to get in the way.
So when my husband told me what the choir had decided to do for our friends, I had to tag along.
A Timeless Friendship
While visiting our friends, it was almost as if no time had passed. Conversation with this friend always flowed easily and this day most certainly proved no different.
Have you ever had a friendship like that? Where, no matter the years or the distance, you always seem to just pick up where you left off? This is what this friend is to me.
The Image of Heaven
I know it must seem strange for me to say my friends’ struggles allowed me a glimpse of heaven. But the brightest stars shine most in the darkest night.
Just as stars shine brightest in the darkest night, your joy blazes brilliantly through life’s problems when you count them as joy.Elizabeth George
Picture the following scene:
A wide range of women and men in different stages and ages of life gather around in a circle, which includes our friends. Everybody is standing and singing praises to our Lord. There is joy and peace in each and everyone’s eyes.
A little baby is toddling around while her daddy keeps a close watch, both quite content.
Outside, my kids along with another couples’ kids are running in a wide-open field on a perfect fall day. The sun glistens through the autumn leaves with a hint of coolness in the air. The children are running and playing and laughing.
On one side of me, I keep glimpsing out into the field to watch the children play and laugh (and make sure they don’t kill each other), while on the other side I listen with tears in my eyes as we sing encouragement and praises.
After the songs, prayers and gifts are shared and lunches and cookies are shared all around.
There is much laughter and joy, even amidst the sadness of a heartbreaking disease like Parkinson’s. There is a new glimmer of hope in my friends’ eyes. Just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.
This my friends, is what I think heaven must be just a little bit like.
But there will be no more sorrow and no more pain. All will be made new. And you will want to do nothing more than sing and dance and play and laugh. We can only imagine what heaven may be like.
I can only imagine.
Nothing is worth more than this day.Goethe.
This my friends, is true joy.
This, my friends, is what it feels like to be wrapped in God’s arms. True joy, is so much more than a feeling; it is a life you get to choose every day.
While these small moments give us a glimpse of Heaven, our ultimate joy will be waiting for us on the other side.
But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God.Psalms 146:5
Why I Write
I write because my feelings are so strong. I know no other way to express my feelings. On this earth, I am filled with great sadness, to see this once strong man struggle to walk from the living room to the kitchen. I sense the fear in his voice when he falls and is scared nobody will be there to catch him. I am filled to the brink of despair to see my friends coping with the struggles of the broken world we live in and faced with an undeserved and merciless debilitating disease.
Yet, I do see God in these moments. (If you need help finding joy in everyday moments, read the following post: Divine Intervention)
Truly God does bring joy out of sorrow. He has allowed me to experience what I consider to be just a tiny glimpse of heaven.
We do not have to understand the why, we simply need to know that God knows the end of the story. The ending will be more than we can imagine. His love will be better than life.
As you prepare your hearts and minds for the upcoming holidays, consider the joy we can find every day.
If you have lost loved ones and the holidays are a difficult time for you, then I pray God’s love and joy over you as you remember the heartfelt times. I pray for comfort and peace. I myself have beloved family members whom I miss dearly and my eyes fill with tears as my heart aches to be with them. Yet when I think of times past, I am thankful for the memories we shared.
What moments will you share together during the holidays? I would love to hear your favorite holiday memory or traditions! Share in the comments below!
Do you need help finding joy in your daily life? Join the 5 Day Joy Challenge HERE!
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