‘I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.’ – Jeremiah 31:13

Dear friends,

A few weeks ago at our niece’s wedding, we were sitting at our tables between courses, when there was a tremendous crash, and we realised that one of the waiters had apparently fallen over. Everyone stopped talking as he got to his feet… when he promptly burst into song! Before we knew it, he had us all on our feet singing with him, and it wasn’t long before we were all dancing around the tables in a long line of wedding guests. It was an absolute joy, and we finished up by belting out Don’t Stop Me Now!  as loudly as we could. It was brilliant!

Dancing is contagious, and it crosses barriers of race, gender, age and social class. It seems to come from God’s heart, as we can see in His promise given through the prophet Jeremiah. In context, God’s people had previously walked away from God with the result that their enemies had swept in and taken them off into exile, where they yearned for their lost homeland for seventy years. In that time, they realised what they had lost when they chose to ignore God, until at last God spoke to them once again, to reassure them that the dark days would soon be at an end:

 ‘Then young women will dance and be glad,
  young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.’ – Jeremiah 31:13

Dancing would be both a sign of joy, and a means of joy, and it would come to the people because God willed it. He was going to turn their mourning into gladness, comforting them and giving them joy, and they would dance, expressing the generosity of His character as they did so, and sharing in His pleasure.

This shared pleasure is a mark of the joy of the Lord, which is not affected by our circumstances. It is found in the deep places of our soul, and assures us that His love for us stands firm. It’s in the way we draw nearer to Him when we are at our most vulnerable, and find that he really does turn mourning into gladness, gently and without haste as the years go by.  How blessed are we, to know that God calls us to share His joy as we dance together with Him!

With our love and prayers
Matthew and Pauline