“There may also be times when…we respond in trust and worship and still feel grief. We may still feel intense sorrow. This process of following the structure of the laments is not a magical incantation that erases all our emotions. It’s not a step by step list to follow that will take away our problems. But it is a journey that draws us closer to God….[The joy of the Lord] can co-mingle with other emotions. It can co-exist side by side with other feelings and circumstances like sorrow and fear. Even when life is at its hardest, gospel joy is still there. It is always present, like an anchor in the storms of life.”- Christina Fox, A Heart Set Free.
Does this resonate with you? As I grow in my faith, and in awareness of the heaviness of a world groaning for redemption, the intermingling of worship and sorrow in Scripture is a deep comfort to me.
It’s a painful process to release our earthly hopes, to knock our idols down, to live in the wilderness.
Sometimes it feels natural to find refuge in God. Sometimes we don’t like His answers. It’s hard to wait for the dawn, to plead for healing, to seek reconciliation, to shed our sins, to long for justice, to be changed, to find hope in the eternal.
“Knowing Jesus gives us hope, but it doesn’t take away the pain. It isn’t meant to. The pain is actually God-ordained to produce things in us that would not be able to be produced any other way. Knowing Jesus is meant to give us reasons to rejoice alongside the pain. They walk hand-in-hand, one doesn’t cancel the other out.”
Praise God that NOTHING can separate us from his love (Romans 8)!
“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
2 Corinthians 12: 8-9
“This is my comfort in affliction,
that your promise gives me life…
It is good for me that I was afflicted,
that I might learn your statues…
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.”
Psalm 119:50,71, 63:7
“God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
–C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
“For then do we make room for Christ’s grace, when in true humility of mind, we feel and confess our own weakness. The valleys are watered with rain to make them fruitful, while in the mean time, the high summits of the lofty mountains remain dry. Let that man, therefore, become a valley, who is desirous to receive the heavenly rain of God’s spiritual grace.”
–John Calvin, on Second Corinthians
“Come to me all who are weary and heaven laden, and I will give you rest.”
“Be still, my soul; the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul; when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.”
A little more…
Click HERE for a playlist of songs I’ve been gathering bit by bit with these thoughts in mind, reminders to wrestle for hope and to worship on tough days.
Faithful preaching in First Peter on “Faith Refined by Grief.”