How Great is Our God in HEBREW,

Friday, August 14, 2009

Joy in the Mourning

The following post was written last May and it is a re-post from a prior blog. I hope it grants you the Light of illumination and the Joy that can only come after having experienced the depths of sorrow. This Joy is one of the greatest "Treasures from Darkness."

A day or two ago, I was having my time with God in the morning. I call these times: "Penuel", because it means "the Face of God." It is in these times that God most often shows me more of His face. I would like to share what I wrote on that morning, particularly because it relates to the theme of my blog. I suffer from a mental illness, a part of which contains the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. So my life is an extreme example of what, I think, most people experience: one day we are flying and the next finds us in a mud puddle, face down. Here are my thoughts about that:

Joy comes in the morning.
Joy comes through the mourning.

If the clouds are full of rain
(and) they empty themselves on the earth,...
Then the light will be sweet,
and it will be a pleasure to see the sun.
For if a person lives many years,
let him take joy in them all;
yet remembering that there will be many days of darkness,...
Ecclesisastes 11:3a,7-8

This verse combined with Oswald Chambers’ Daily Thoughts for Disciples' entry for May 15th, talk about how life is meant to be enjoyed. Oddly, before I read the above passages, I read one by Thomas a Kempis which was all about “compunction” and having a proper “mirthless” attitude toward life…to embrace mourning and tears and not to waste time in enjoying yourself.
...........................................This disturbed me…ran wrongly across my grain.
Then I read Ps. 80, especially vv.: 5-7 and 11-12.

“The Lord bestows favor and honor:
no good thing does he withhold from
those whose walk is blameless…

BLESSED is the man who trusts in you.”

So? Conclusion?
God wants us to take from our times of sorrow and hardship, despair and difficulty, the ability to appreciate the joys and beauty of life as they can only be viewed after having suffered its heartaches. He wants us to view the heavens from the depths of the canyon…He wants us to rejoice and drink wine in our gladness (not to drink in our sorrow); to enjoy the fruit of the vine and of life and to celebrate it.
Then I read one of the Puritan prayers in Valley of Vision pp 282-283 which contrasts our fallenness with God's perfection, our weakness with His strength, etc. We come to God in our weakness, failure, inconsistency, dishonesty etc….But we dare approach Him with Christ’s purity, strength, victory, steadfastness and honesty etc. We can rejoice because of Christ. We can be victorious in Christ’s victory and we can only appreciate that having a full knowledge of our own sin and failure.
So, yes: have compunction. Yes: despair over your own inability and weakness—then REJOICE because you have the fullness of Christ and therefore, also share the companionship and favor of God. God wants you to enjoy the good things he has given you…. Do this with the eyes of the impoverished! Delight in the feast with the hunger of the starving.I guess that is all I have to say.

I come to the Valley of Baca (which means suffering or distress). And it becomes for me a place of nourishment and refreshment. The valley of suffering teaches me to take from life its good and to savor it completely.

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