The gift of mourning

For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Ps. 30:5)

The Lord teaches me the way of the Cross and part of that journey is the gift of mourning, or the gift of sorrow. He wants to gift to me the heart of the Father. I can’t have that heart without knowing sorrow. It’s not all about “happy”. The joy is sweeter when the sorrow has been deeper.

Though the darkness hide Thee

In doing a basic search for a picture of a closed tomb, I find far more pictures of open tombs… the stone rolled away.

We don’t like the feeling of Good Friday. Somehow, we want some glimmer of hope. Thankfully, we know the end of the story! But on Friday… this day… we need to feel the loss. 

Resurrection means nothing until you’ve stood at the grave. Not an open grave with nothing in it. Not a tomb with the stone rolled away.

The tomb has the body. The stone is over the entrance. All you had hoped for is completely gone. We need to feel the loss. 

The heavier the loss, the sweeter the victory.

The deeper the darkness, the brighter the light.

When you stand at the occupied tomb, you understand resurrection.

Part of the “practice of resurrection” is to understand a sealed tomb.

38 Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away. 39 He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. 40 Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. (John 19:38-40)

Lord, too often I want the shout of victory without the battle of suffering. I want to feel victory without tasting defeat. That is not your way. Your way leads us past this graveyard. Your way calls us to feel the loss so we may more fully understand the victory. I stand at this tomb today… lost. I leave Good Friday service tonight with a sense of not knowing. Let my soul wait. Let my soul HOPE. There is a deep darkness before the hope of dawn… and I choose to wait… longing for something more. 

 

The hardest prayer

Sometimes the only thing to pray is, “Lord, break me.”

It is incredibly hard. It grates against our pride and ego and sense of “victorious living”, etc. But this may be the best prayer. And as a result, our lack of willingness to pray it is probably what holds back genuine outpouring of the Spirit.

Too often the temptation is to pray, “Lord, break them.

But, O, Lord, let us begin here. Break me. 

It is About God WITH Us

Life in Christ isn’t about being burden free. Life hits us hard. Life in Christ is about knowing he is God with us. We don’t bear those burdens alone.

We need to know the One who is with us. We need to know the One who is for us. 

There are times we sow in tears. There are times when grief is so overwhelming we don’t know if we can bear up through the mess.

But there will be that time when we sense in our spirits that God has come down. He is with us. The tears of sorrow give way to tears of joy. The load gets a bit lighter.

1 When the LORD changed Zion’s circumstances for the better,
it was like we had been dreaming.
2 Our mouths were suddenly filled with laughter;
our tongues were filled with joyful shouts.
It was even said, at that time, among the nations,
“The LORD has done great things for them!”
3 Yes, the LORD has done great things for us,
and we are overjoyed.
4 LORD, change our circumstances for the better,
like dry streams in the desert waste!
5 Let those who plant with tears
reap the harvest with joyful shouts.
6 Let those who go out,
crying and carrying their seed,
come home with joyful shouts,
carrying bales of grain! (Psalm 126, CEB)

Joy can still come. God is with you.