“There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot;
a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”
An Offering of Sorrow
It had been a blue-ribbon Saturday in the Martin home, not a single thing stealing our attention, unless you count the wispy clouds in the September sky. (And we did.)
The previous weeks had left us soul-sick once again, our hopefulness worn down from walking wobbly upon this life with one foot in hope and the other in brokenness, our will to endure left badly bruised.
We were more desperate for solace than we knew, quietly thrilled when it showed up as a string of hours to play, nest, dream, and rest.
Morning eased into afternoon, a processional of oatmeal, ham sandwiches, and finally, a home-baked casserole — the signature dish of the cozy and content. Defying all logic, our two youngest children spent the day eyeballs-deep in collaborative, imaginative play while our older lost himself in a book. My husband and I napped to the tune of cicadas while the world rushed past. We capped it all off with a bike ride to the diner for ice cream sundaes drenched in fudge.
If it sounds spectacular, it’s because it was. It was a dream, a day I’ll hold onto for a while, grabbing hold of it in a pinch, when my heart feels weary.
But the best part was the bitter end, when our daughter came downstairs tear-streaked, shoulders shaking. “I don’t feel safe tonight,” she sobbed. “I don’t want to be alone.”
The easy rhythm of our day had been lovely, but it paled in comparison to the moment she came to us in sadness, in fear, in need.
God delights in our joy, but the story doesn’t end there.
He blesses those who mourn, sits with the brokenhearted, heaves our burden onto His own shoulder. God is greater than the ways we wound and are wounded, but He also knows sorrow and He promises we’ll never face ours alone.
Today, suffering a history laced with pain and confusion, may we allow ourselves room to truly bear the pain of a kingdom waiting to be rescued.
May we feel the presence of God very near, collecting our tears, receiving them as worship.
Crystal Storms says
Our tears as worship when we run to our Father — what a beautiful picture of God’s love for us, Shannan.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
We are truly a kingdom waiting to be rescued…oh what a mess we’ve made! I used to think life was a “bowl of cherries” and as Erma Bombeck used to say, “If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing down here in the pits?” I think I would also change all the t-shirts and stuff that reads “Life is good”. Mine would say, “Life is hard, but God is good!” My point being that life IS hard so when God gives us a day, or an hour, or a season of peace like you described so beautifully, may we take it as a wondrous gift from Him. May we hold it gently like a precious treasure, not forgetting to thank Him endlessly for His goodness. I believe He gives us glimpses of heaven in order to help us keep holding on and hanging in there. This is not our home….we are strangers in a foreign land. Thank you for a precious reminder to treasure the good moments He gives.
Well said BEV…the glimpses of heaven Pappa has given me are what hold me together as I get up everyday , move forward to what he has for me and praise him for what he has done…Jesus is my safe place even when the season is difficult and painful.
Thank you Shannon for your words of Gods care and love!
When all else fails, I ask God to take this feeling that I can’t get rid of. Lord, do something, please! I went outside with my bible and sharpie and started looking for flat stones to write on. Write all those promises on rocks, paths, in gardens, everywhere. By the time I wrote 20, I was saying, I claim that promise. I found I needed to recall all His greatest hits, verses I memorized growing up. The strength of all His promises that I can claim now, because of his unfailing love ! Wow, it’s changed my heart.
Love this, Karen! Amen!
Debi G. says
Some days I feel lonely; some days I feel sad; some days I feel angry or hurt. Some days I feel all of those things. But, one thing I know & can count on, is that the presence of the Lord is with me, comforting & guiding, teaching & convicting. He is everything to me…Sure, I love my family, & aside from the Lord, they are the most important people in my life. Yesterday, I discovered that my loneliness has been mostly self-pity…that I need to be an active friend to those I love, & not expect them to always come to me. And, I need to make more of an effort to do for my children & grandchildren, & not just feel bad because they haven’t made an effort. Please pray that God will show me things I can do for them, that will make them feel loved & not obligated. And, help them to realize that their grandfather & me love them & need their love in return. And to recognize & respect our disabilities. I love that saying: MAY WE FEEL THE PRESENCE OF GOD VERY NEAR, COLLECTING OUR TEARS, RECEIVING THEM AS WORSHIP.
Beth Williams says
Lately just looking around at what our country has become I ask how long Oh Lord? When will you come and rescue your faithful followers? It seems like we’ve become like Sodom and Gomorrah. More concerned with Gay/Black rights and offending people than we are about being Christian. The Bible is hardly mentioned if at all. I guess right now I’m sorrowful for our nation. I want to go back to the days when NOTHING was open on Sunday and most people went to church and prayed! Prayer seems almost a distant thought to some!
“He blesses those who mourn, sits with the brokenhearted, heaves our burden onto His own shoulder. God is greater than the ways we wound and are wounded, but He also knows sorrow and He promises we’ll never face ours alone.” What wonderful words and promises. Let us hear and know these words. Let them saturate our soul.
This was one of the most confusing posts I’ve seen yet on this site. What?? If you meant to speak in riddles and “Christianese”, congrats. You did.
Thank you, dear Sister, for this reminder that God’s presence is very near; and that He receives our tears as worship. None of what we see happening today is “new stuff” to Almighty God. My daily Bible chapters have been in Ezekiel and now I’ve just started reading the book of Daniel. How we all need to read Daniel’s prayer. God does NOT change. He is always the same. And He is always with His children. In my 71 years of walking with Him he has never failed to love me, keep me and teach me. Not because of who I am but because of Who He is.
Gabrielle, I’m sorry that this post says “confusion” and “Christianese” to you. For me, and I know for many/most? others, it is in our heart language. I pray that you will hang in here with all of us and allow us the gift of sharing with you God’s love. Thank you for caring enough to respond. Won’t you help us to (in)courage you as you seek answers to your questions? God is never out of reach. He cares for you. I am praying for you. Help us to meet you where you are.