Saturday, January 21, 2012

Faith, Grace, Hope, and Joy

Faith, Grace, Hope, and Joy. 
Not only are they names commonly used for pastor’s daughters, they are incredible concepts when the realities of life come crashing in.

While I was grousing about having a swollen finger and single-handedly wrangling two little girls who can’t. stop. talking., dear friends of ours were traveling back to be with their family to bury their youngest child.
Yes, I said bury their youngest child.
A child tiny enough to fit in the palm of your hand. A child long-awaited and much cherished. My heart breaks again for them as I write this.

I was talking to someone the other day who had done the same thing in the past. She’s buried her mother, her father, and her sister, but says burying a child is the most painful thing she’s ever endured.

This is where Faith, Grace, Hope, and Joy become so important in life.

Both friends who lost children truly believe that “all things work together for good for those who love God.”* Their strong Faith in God is their lifeboat in the storms of life. Where Faith carries you, Grace is already there. And Grace begets Hope. And where there is Hope, you can soon find Joy.

Our recent winter weather strikes me as an excellent illustration of the days of Joy and sorrow. Boston’s weeks of gray skies and snowstorms are punctuated by days of brilliant sunshine and crystalline blue skies. After slogging through days of cold dreariness, your heart and whole being involuntarily lift a bit when the sun bursts through.

So to all of my friends who are slogging through days of slush and darkness, I pray you will have a buoyant Faith, bountiful Grace, greater Hope, and more easily-discovered Joy.

*Romans 8:28


  1. I can’t imagine burying a child. I know there are people who go through that every day. It makes me feel sad, small and ungrateful—because I feel I would never recover and wouldn't really know my blessings until I lost them. I truly admire those who go on and do amazing things with their lives, continuing to love life and God. My parents always told me and tried so hard to show me that I would never be happy if I always looked to those who seemed have better than me and seemed so happy and fulfilled. That I needed to look to those who had many hardships and struggles and still somehow rose above that with all that you say—faith, love, joy, grace… so that I would understand. A childhood lesson that I still need to bring me to reality, to make me grateful, careful, thankful and forgiving.

    My best to your friends during this difficult time.
    Beautifully written Joy.

    Xoxo Aminah

    1. Many thanks for our parents who tried to teach us these lessons! I can't imagine how my life would be without the foundation they provided...
      Many thanks for your wonderful comment!