You have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. Psalm 116:8
Paul wrote: Epaphroditus was indeed so ill that he nearly died. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, so that I would not have one sorrow after another. Philippians 2:27
In music, it is said that almost more important than the notes themselves is the space between the notes. That space is what gives timing, syncopation, rhythm…
This thought came to mind this morning as I considered the passages above. At first, these two readings struck me as beautiful statements of gratitude for when things are going well. But they acknowledge that things don’t always go well. Our lives are punctuated by moments of sorrow…moments of stumbling, tears, and death.
But if we are honest, these moments never have the final say about us. For some of us, at some points in our lives, these moments of sorrow come more frequently. We live through seasons of our lives that have more difficulties, and seasons that have less. As we look across human community, we see that some are caught in situations more wracked by sorrow and struggle…and yet even then, those things can never have the final say.
Ah, but there’s space between the difficulties. Moments of peace, joy, deliverance, and love will always break in…moments in which there’s space for grace, and gratitude, and mercy. There’s the space we are given, and the space we make. There’s the space we fight for on behalf of others, and the space they fight for on our behalf. If we’re honest, most of our life is this space…the times we are “delivered” from difficulty and can live in gratitude as the passages above echo.
Today, my prayer is two-fold…
May God give us the gratitude to live joyfully in the spaces between difficulties…
and may God give us the strength to work that others may have more of this space in their lives.
God, today there will be moments of sorrow, and stumbling, and pain. But there will also be moments of joy, and peace, and love. Help us to live in gratitude, drinking in the blessings you pour out. Help us to live from blessing to blessing, rather than from hardship to hardship. Then give us the courage and strength to fight for each other, so the spaces of blessing increase. Amen.