And Still She Laughs by Kate Merrick is about a mother trying to find joy within the depths of suffering. Merrick delved into the stories in the Bible of real women who suffered deeply and emerged somehow joyful. This is not a history of Biblical women but rather Merrick weaves a bit of their story within her own, making this a very relate-able story to anyone who has suffered pain (and haven't we all?).
"We want the blessing of a Christian life but none of the pain. We think twice about diving in, risking love because we might lose it, risking reputation, comfort, all these things we think will keep us safe and happy." (p. 170)
Merrick digs deep into the fact that our culture equates being loved by God by being blessed by Him by receiving the life we ask for. It's the type of thinking that leads so many people to discontentment, and sadly leads people astray from God Himself. If our lives are rough we must not be loved by Him, if our prayers aren't answered in our ways we must not be blessed. While in reality the Bible points out that we must "take up our cross daily" and that the path of a Christian is narrow and hard but that the rewards are worth it. THIS is what Merrick comes to realize while searching the Bible and stories of hardship and pain.
"Choosing to live for eternity is such a game changer. It holds much meaning for the future, yes, but for the here and now it brings with it the ability to laugh. A hundred years ago, when I was in college, my pastor used to say "You do what you believe." He meant that we say much-we talk, talk, talk-but what we do speaks louder. We can talk until we go hoarse, but our actions show what our faith actually looks like.
If I believe I will see Daisy again, I can grieve, but not as those without hope grieve (1 Thess. 4:13). I can cry and hurt and wail and get it all out, but I can be confident in our future reunion (1 Thess. 4:14). I can wonder joyfully about her and what she's doing. I can picture her in Heaven riding a bear-or any of the crazy animals she loved so much-while eating a juicy mango, wild and free. I can see her meeting new friends and Jesus swinging her around like an airplane. I can trust she is well, she is whole, and she has done more than the things on her bucket list.
I believe she is with the Lord. I can rejoice in that, and maybe, if I really think hard about it, I might even be able to laugh."
It comes down to the fact that as children of God, who know that the treasure of eternity awaits us, we can find joy within any circumstance because we know that a reward far better will be ours. That's not to say we can't grieve, but within our grief we can find hope. In our pain we can find purpose. In our trials we can find wisdom.
1 Peter 1:3-8:
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,
5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
This is not just for the grieving. As a matter of fact, it's more for any pain and suffering you may have experienced in life. As we all suffer, we all can use this reminder. This book will be going on my shelves to be read time and time again.
This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.