“Can he do that even now, though?” I asked, lifting my head to look at The James a little better. We had just read a Psalm together and it spoke of God having turned wailing into dancing and it seemed to be like the Psalmist was in a world of the past and we only held heavenly hopes for such dancing.
James shrugged his shoulders and smiled, “I think he can. But it’s hard when things are so messed up.”
I imagined wailing turning into dancing and at first it was simply awkward. Someone wiping tears from their eyes as they swayed back and forth to a song they had never heard because songs of sadness had filled their soul for so long, a foot beginning to tap with fear that the song would end all too soon and they would be left standing there alone and feeling lonelier than ever. I imagined what would happen if others stood beside them and began to dance too, and arms would begin moving and feet bouncing and hearts racing as the music would soar and yes, it would still be awkward, but it would be awkward in that beautiful way that can only occur when there is such joy that your silly dancing doesn’t matter. It just matters that joy has filled your soul and you can’t help but let it out, and so, you dance.
There were a group of people, ragged and worn, who thought their wailing would never end. They had seen the man who held all their hopes die and they were trying to find a way to pick up the pieces and keep going with life, but after three years following this man as their lives, they didn’t know what it looked like to keep going with life. Surely, they would simply hide and wail for the rest of their lives and never heal those wounds. It was impossible for this wailing to turn into dancing. There would be no awkward explosions of joy, just tears and grief. And so as they hid away in those rooms, the sun rose and the world continued to spin on as it always had.
Except God is in the business of the impossible, you see, and the joy would soon dawn upon them as the son rose. The Son rose. All the hopes that died with Jesus would rise once more and they would finally understand all that he had said and promised and they would know that He was the Messiah. They would know that He had rebuilt the temple in three days and He Himself was the temple and that life would never be the same again. The world would be changed forever because life was now possible.
That doesn’t help my question about today though. As the disciples found themselves confronted with joy at God doing the impossible, their wailing would have turned to dancing but that was then and this is now and Jesus isn’t going to simply show up to those who need it and let them know that it’ll all be okay. We’re still suffering and maybe this promise is simply one for heaven.
Yes, but no.
Solomon once said that there was a time for everything under the sun and that makes me think that the seasons of wailing do end. It makes me think that the heavy heart gives way to dancing sometimes and the wailing will return but as the seasons of life turn, we can trust that there is a God ordaining each season of life. Today I think that sometimes we’re waiting and hoping, like those disciples on Saturday, but other days we find ourselves with Sunday feelings. Except the Sunday feeling is one that stays with us and rises and falls and is sometimes buried by the heaviness of our burdens. But it never leaves.
We, friends, are people of Sunday.
And that burden that you feel that makes your feet heavy as lead shouldn’t be a source of shame and it’s okay that you’re not dancing today, but maybe you could find a way to shuffle your feet ever so slightly and continue to look to the God of the impossible who makes seasons come and go. Keep hoping for the wailing to turn to dancing because it can and it does and it did on that Sunday when the sun rose and the Son had risen. It’s okay if you can’t dance, though. He isn’t angry with you or disappointed, because He knows that one day you will dance again.
I’m hoping that one day we will get to dance together, too. Our arms and legs and hearts flailing with joy as we celebrate all that God has done. It’ll be awkward and unashamed and that heaviness will no longer weigh our hearts down… but hey, for now, if you need someone to shuffle awkwardly alongside you I will. We could even do the Heel and Toe, if you wanted. We’re in this together, with the God who turned wailing into dancing. It’s what He does.