Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Weeping and Rejoicing

Today I would like to share a trip down memory lane that came as I read Romans 12:15.

As we all know, men and women aren't wired the same way.  Most of us have a stronger need for relational ties and support and less difficulty in forming these connections than our male counterparts.  Friendships give us great joy during the good times and comfort during the bad.  Romans 12:15 says to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice.  I believe this is generally an easy command for us to follow.  When friends share good news, our natural reaction is to rejoice with them, especially if things are going relatively well.  On the other hand when others go through difficulties, we hurt with them.  

However, what happens when good news and bad news happen simultaneously?  I believe that is when this verse really has meaning and isn't as easy to follow.  I hadn't considered this question until it played out in my own life several years ago.  Helene is one of my closest friends and one of my few friends from America that live in the same country as myself.  Although she has had fertility issues all her life, she had a daughter.  She and her husband desperately wanted another child, but it was looking like they were just meant to be a family of three.  
My husband and I hadn't been married very long when we decided to have a baby.  We naively thought this would be a quick and smooth process.  After about 9 months of trying, we saw the anticipated double lines on the test stick.  Due to unusual circumstances, that information didn't bring us joy but began weeks of concern and uncertainty.  

Our greatest fears were confirmed one afternoon when I started having tremendous pain and dizziness.  My husband rushed me to the hospital, and I was in surgery less than two hours later because of a ruptured ectopic pregnancy*.  

Helene was visiting her family in America when this first happened, but she and her family visited me in the hospital as soon as they returned home.  Shortly after they arrived in our room, our husbands and her daughter left the room.  Once we were alone, she hugged me close and cried with me.  With tears running down her cheeks and a quiver in her voice, she told me that she had something to tell me.  While continuing to cry, she told me that during her absence she had found out that she was pregnant.  The way she was crying, I feared for her unborn child's life.  With a sense of dread, I asked her if everything was okay.  She said that everything was fine, and then she said something that floored me.  She told me that it was okay if I couldn't be happy with her right now, that she understood. To me that one statement was truly the epitome of weeping with those who weep.  Although I didn't have the unabandoned excitement that I would have normally had, God comforted me in my time of need with her news, and I found that I was able to rejoice with her.  


*An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg grows in the fallopian tube instead of implanting in a woman's uterus.  If this is discovered soon enough, it can be medically treated and the tube can be saved.  If it goes undiscovered and the baby continues growing in the tube, eventually the strain on the tube becomes too great leading to a rupture in the tube creating a medical emergency that must be dealt with immediately.     
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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