Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
There is a giddy goofiness about being twenty that seems to pass as you move through your thirties. People will tell you it’s maturity, like that explains it. What is it that changes in a 23 year old that makes him ‘mature’ if you wait 16 years?
I broke my collarbone when I was 29 and it was never the same again. I got back full range of motion but nerve damage in my shoulder keeps the inside edges of my pinky and ring finger numb in my left hand. It has served as a reminder that my body will work less well and not more as I get older. It is not as it should be.
It seems at 39 I am being introduced to a whole different kind of brokenness. I have seen more sorrow in the past two months than perhaps in the ten years prior. When you mourn with those who mourn you come face to face with the futility of life. God’s grace to us is not measured in how long we live but in what He has saved us from. We have been bought back with a great price and yet this world is not yet how it should be. The earth groans in anticipation of it’s redemption, and us with it. When those I love are wounded in this world I feel their pain and then I also feel this guilt that I haven’t had to suffer this loss. I feel shame that I wouldn’t take it for them, in their place, if I could. I sometimes don’t think I could handle it.
There is a sorrow in knowing the fallen nature of the world. At risk of contradicting Scripture, it isn’t sorrow I feel in the sense of crying and feeling sad. I still enjoy watching my kids open Christmas gifts. I still laugh when they tell me stories, I still smile when I see my Mom and Dad. But there is a deeper sorrow in the world, perhaps it is the groaning that Paul talks about in Romans 8.
It is a wisdom of sorrow, that comes from experience. Like a tingling numbness, it is a reminder that things are not the way they are supposed to be. Not until Jesus returns will the tears cease, “Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.”
Be Still My Soul
Be still, my soul; the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul; thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul; thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul; the waves and wind still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.