After my first full day in Kyrgyzstan, I took a long walk around the city center. I walked past familiar places that I’ve looked at for over 20 years. I laughed to myself as I even recognized potholes and crumbling pieces of sidewalk. A great feeling of nostalgia swept through me as I walked past open-air cafes along the walks or in the parks. How many times I have sat in the chairs, sipping tea, talking with friends.
The sweetest of sadnesses came when I walked past a park cafe that my father and I especially liked to visit. We would sit, sipping tea, discussing our students and lesson plans, watching people walk by, and laugh at the antics of the red squirrels gathering acorns or jumping from tree to tree. I felt a smile curl on my lips and a tear slide into my eye. Such sweet memories bring out the beauty of pain. Had my father never come, there would be no sweet memories now. The memories are worth the pain. They are treasures to every tear drop.
Easter has just passed. Had Jesus never come to endure pain for us, there would be no sweet memories of Him either, no tears to cry in remembrance of what He did for us, no smiles to form on our faces in realization of daily strength He gives us.
Pain is not a bad thing nor a thing to avoid; it is a hard thing that makes us stronger to stand against the situations of life that would otherwise knock us over. Pain is not pleasant when it walks through the door but there is a loveliness when it is embraced with the knowledge of the sweetness it has to bring us.
There is no pain today, nor any tear cried, that God will not use to bring about sweet joy tomorrow.
“…Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” Psalm 30:5