The Gift Of Sorrow And Gratitude

Well I thought that I was done with the posts about Hurricane but a few a couple of comments and questions have come up that deserve to be written about.

I came across this verse this morning that I wanted to share with you. You may not like what it says, but I am praying that you come to love this truth as I have come to.

“Sorrow is better than laughter, for sadness has a refining influence on us.”
Ecclesiastes 7:3

If you could go back and do it all again, would you still choose to go to Puerto Rico? That question was asked to me a couple days ago, and a question that I answered in a heartbeat. But I will get back to that in a bit.

It was a trip that was planned months before we were scheduled to go, but then sadly fully cancelled the day before we were supposed to leave, only to be rebooked later that day for that coming weekend.

It was supposed to be a vacation that we “needed”. Our plan was the beach, the pool, and our favorite Puerto Rican cuisine. But what we thought we needed, and what we actually needed were two completely different things. We thought we needed rest, but God knew we needed to overcome fear, and place full trust in Him. And despite our best efforts to get a flight out before the storm, He allowed us to ride out a Category 5 hurricane for that to happen. Can I tell you something? Our best efforts are nothing compared to His perfect plan. He could have gotten us out, but He didn’t. And it was a beautiful thing.

“Give thanks in all things, because that is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

You poor things to have to go through that. I felt like I was hit by a ton of bricks, and I didn’t really know how to respond to this when it was said to me. We actually never felt poor at all, in fact exactly the opposite. God’s word says to be thankful in all things, and we couldn’t be more grateful for our time in Puerto Rico, and it truly refined our hearts.

So, if we could go back and do it all again, would we? Would we use our vacation to help prepare my aunt and uncle’s house for the hurricane? Would we go back and hunker down while waiting for a category 5 hurricane to pass? Would we go back to not knowing what was happening outside the walls of the house? Would we go back to all of the devastation, and hearing story after story of the loss that was all around us? Would we go back to watching a place that once held so much beauty, be turned into a place that held a beauty that is within? Would we go back to not knowing if we had enough food to get us through? Would we go back to all of the uncertainty of not knowing what the next day or maybe even week held?

And the answer to that without hesitation is yes. Yes, we would.

Yes, call us crazy but we are grateful for the time we had in Puerto Rico. And yes, we would do it all again. We would go back to see our faith in Him be strengthened and fear be erased. We would go back again and watch our hearts expand and bleed for the devastation we saw and for the people we left behind. We would go back to watch Him guide our every single step.

The only thing that we possibly would have done differently is considered what more we could have done while we were there. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about how I could go back and help. Lots of different scenerios have gone through my head on how that could happen, but unless God has other plans that just isn’t in the cards right now.

Sorrow expands the depth of your heart to include realities that reach to a place far deeper than good times.

I love to laugh, and we did a good amount of that during our stay (before and after the storm), but sorrow is indeed better than laughter. Sorrow expands the depth of your heart to include realities that reach to a place far deeper than good times. This was one of those experiences that we will never forget, but look back on in gratitude. This grew our hearts in ways we never expected, refined us in the unplanned ways, and revealed a thankfulness despite the circumstances.

God, sorrow is indeed and gift, and so is gratitude. Your word is true, and I ask that you help us to continually see the depth of truth that You word carries so we can walk that truth out in our lives. Help us to be thankful in all things, even the things we don’t want to be thankful for. Help us all to take our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances and put them on You. And when we have a hard time finding anything to be thankful for, may we turn our eyes in gratitude to the cross. In Jesus name. Amen.

One thing that tore our hearts while we were there, and still does honestly, was the fact that we got to go home, and the people that live there were home. That was their new normal until relief could come in. What the island is going through is unimaginable, and circumstances are preventing relief work from getting to some of the hardest hit areas.

So with that said, if you feel led, please give to relief efforts. If you are encouraged to give, please research and give money to the organizations that provide the best strategy in getting the needed resources to the island while also pouring the biggest percentage of your donation into the actual relief efforts.