The Highlands and the Heartache
People have asked me about the arrival of Lucy, our second daughter. My response consists of two words, “Beautifully complicated.”
One month into Lucy’s little life, we have had to learn, like any parents, how to adjust our schedules and recalibrate our sleep expectations. Hayley, our three-year-old, loves the role of big sister. Yet, she had to adjust to having one more person to divide our attention. Robyn, my wife, has supported everyone in this significant change.
“Beautifully complicated” sums up our life in this season, but in some peculiar way, it can explain much of the past year in the pandemic. As a society, we have had to slow down. At times, we have entered into our grief in ways that we would have not unless we had a lockdown. You have had to count your blessings while acknowledging the pain.
Interestingly enough, I have been reading through the book of Job in the Bible. The majority of the book walks us through a conversation about suffering through Job and his friends, Bildad, Zophar, Eliphaz, and Elihu. These individuals attempt to reconcile the tragedies of Job by questioning his integrity. The dialogue reveals their lack of understanding of God’s grace.
Recently, a friend shared with me the song Highlands by Hillsong. These lyrics have stuck in my mind:
I will praise on the mountain
I will praise you when the mountain is in my way
You’re the summit where my feet are
So I will praise You in the valleys all the same
No less God within the shadows
No less faithful when the night leads me astray
You’re the heaven where my heart is
In the highlands and the heartache all the same
In the “beautifully complicated” seasons, we face the temptation of Job’s friends trying to explain the good and the bad. Spiritual maturity moves us to say about Jesus, “In the highlands and the heartache all the same.”
If I’m candid, I still succumb to the lie that when life is good, God loves me, and when life is terrible, God must be angry with me. We need to mourn and rejoice in the different seasons of our lives. Equating God’s favor or discipline to our current reality wrongly assumes that we know God’s intentions and, even more so, makes us think we can earn God’s grace.
You may have experienced the highlands of this last year with the good news of new babies, weddings, graduations, promotions, and other positives amid a challenging year. You may have also experienced the heartache of grieving the loss of loved ones, missed opportunities, the anxiety of uncertainty, and the complications of 2020 & 2021.
We have the choice of trying to interpret the highlands and heartache through Job’s friends’ perspective or embrace a God who is the same no matter the season.
Lucy continually reminds me of the “beautifully complicated” season in a year full of highlands and heartache. Most of our lives are a paradox of mourning and rejoicing; grieving and celebrating.
Following Jesus means recognizing His faithfulness and presence while the world tosses and turns around us. The same God on the top of the mountain walks us with us in the deepest valley.
Originally published at https://peterenglert.com on March 4, 2021.