I had a dream last night. I don’t dream often, and when I do, it usually rises from deep inside me. I dream because I am experiencing fear or because I am sad or because I am longing for something. Sometimes, I dream to ask God questions.
Last night, I dreamt I was giving birth to twins. Two perfect baby boys were laid in my arms. I nursed them and wept for the joy of it. One was easy to nurse, the other struggled to latch on. One was large and chubby, while the other was a bit smaller and thinner. One was happy and bubbly, while the other fussed and squirmed. I cared for them both, but the little one received just a bit more of my attention, because I worried about him. I wanted to help him, I wanted to heal him.
When I woke, I forgot about the dream. I was listening to the Scripture as I went about my morning, but my heart was aching. I pressed into the presence of God a little bit deeper, as I felt my heart hungering for communion with the Father. I knew I needed to be with Him, although I had no memory of the dream. As I got ready for my day, I felt the Lord say, sit down at your desk, I have something for you to write. As I sat down, suddenly, the dream flooded back into my mind. My first response was shock. How had I forgotten that dream? Then my heart broke again, and I began to weep. Questions rose up in my heart. Why do millions of women across the globe give birth every day, but I never will? Why will I never nurse a baby? Why Lord? As I wept, I heard the Father say, It’s right to mourn. I mourn with you.
I looked down at my arm, with a little bit of shame rising up in me. I tried to muster gratitude. After all, I am blessed, so blessed. God hasn’t left my quiver empty. I have three adopted sons, and 13 other children who have called me mom, even for a short time. Scott and I have been used to minister to this generation, and I am so grateful to God for the opportunities He has given us. Should I cry for what I cannot have? Should I mourn for the babies I will never birth, for the child I will never nurse? In that moment, I felt God speaking to my heart: sorrow for what can never be does not diminish the joy of what you have been given. Both sorrow and joy are emotions I created. I feel them both, and I give them both.
The Father reminded me of the Garden of Eden. I saw His joy as He walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the evening... before the Fall. I felt His heart break as they ate the fruit He had commanded them not to eat. I felt His sorrow as He slaughtered those first animals to make a covering for them. Needless death because of disobedience was everywhere. I felt His tender heart as He sent them out of the Garden. God had lost something precious that day. And He mourned that loss.
I felt the Father’s joy as His son came into the world. I felt His exultant heart as the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, on earth - PEACE, good will toward men!” I felt His pleasure as He watched His Son grow and mature and obey Him in everything, how He rejoiced when His Son overcame the same temptations faced by Adam and Eve. And as Jesus hung on a cross in excruciating pain, as He cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me!?” I felt God’s heart rend in pieces. His limitless love for His Son and for all of humankind lead God to feel limitless agony at the cross. And, OH, the triumph I saw on His face when the stone was flung aside and Jesus stepped out in glorious victory! “YES!” He cried.
In a split second, I was taken on a journey through the emotions of God, and I realized something in that moment. God has known pain like we have never experienced. Have you been betrayed by someone you love? God has experienced betrayal in a limitless way. Have you lost a child to sickness? God has mourned the loss of billions of children to darkness. Have you experienced the unfaithfulness of a spouse? God has been betrayed a billion times by His beloved. And yet... He also knows limitless love, joy and peace in the midst of every sorrow. He understands that, in the end, death will be swallowed up by life.
If you are mourning something today, just know, God is with you in the sorrow. He sits with you in the ashes. He understands your suffering and He holds your hand through every tear. He will help you rise from every place of darkness to experience His light again. He knows first hand everything you feel. You are not alone. And there will be joy again, because He is limitless in His goodness. So go ahead and mourn what will never be, knowing that joy comes in the morning. And in the mourning, God has felt what you feel and more.