"Yea, though I walk through the valley..."
"I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!" ~ John 16:33
These days psychologists posit that there are 27 categories of human emotion, then there are the ways and degrees in which they blend together and the combinations simultaneously possible in the different realms of life all at once.
To be human is quite the thing.
The human experience is chock-full of emotional rollercoasters, vivid internal experiences, and you know what? It's all part of the design, it's all part of you as a creation of the Creator, it's all part of His gift. All of it.
My grandmother always used to say, "if we don't experience the valleys, we cannot know the joy of the mountain tops."
Some people might consider me a Pollyanna, if so that's something I come by naturally. But, it's the way I was put together.
I have certainly known very dark times, as has the vast majority of the human race. But, even well before I am able to internalize silver linings in my heart and soul, my mind reaches for them.
I guess I'm just a "glass half full" kind of girl.
So, when I come across Psalms of lament, I struggle to get my arms around them. I tend to only underline the select excerpts of praise, the glimmers of hope.
But, here's what occurred to me the other day...
We all live it. And we all must confront it, embrace it even.
I suspect we must come face to face with what it means to be fully human on this journey of life, or we may just miss out on some of the blessing.
I find there to be a rich beauty in grief, in sadness, in suffering, in pain.
By the way, I would never suggest staying there, and if you need help, I beg you to seek it out.
However, I do think there's something to realizing the power of those emotions and the depth of the experience.
I have a few friends who have known great sorrow, who live in the shadows much of the time, and I am so encouraged by how beautifully they do so.
I'm not sure that's my particular area of expertise, but I would like to acknowledge those who do it remarkably well. There are plenty beloved of God who do, and I pray you each know His Peace.
The Psalm of lament that brought me here was 77.
Verses 1-2 say, "I cried out to God; I cried aloud to God to hear me. In the day of trouble I sought the Lord; through the night my outstretched hands did not grow weary; my soul refused to be comforted."
... and on it goes.
Over and again in Scripture, we see His children grieved and calling out to Him.
He is not discouraged by the need, in fact, I believe running to Him for comfort in those moments is precisely what He would have us do. But, I also believe He would not have us be grieved in solitude.
It was pointed out to me that this is a Psalm "To the choirmaster." Folks, that means it is sung in communion, together, in public. It's okay to be real with our experience, with others, and most especially with Him.
I believe it's important to be proactive as well, but being real has value as well.
Here's the thing...
He is there, too... wherever there may be.
I don't believe it is possible for Him to leave us or forsake us or abandon us. Not ever. No matter what.
And, I don't believe the Savior was implying any such thing when He said, "My God, My God..." But, that's a much larger conversation for another time.
Psalm 104:30: "You bring darkness, and it becomes night, when all the beasts of the forest prowl."
And, even more beautifully poetic and comforting to me...
Psalm 18:11, "He made darkness His hiding place, and storm clouds a canopy around Him."
There's something about that that makes me feel safe and comforted and sheltered. He is there, too.
He isn't just in the light and joy, though He is there as well. He is in the darkness and the storm.
Psalm 81:7a says, "You called out in distress, and I rescued you; I answered you from the cloud of thunder"
He answers us from the cloud of thunder. He is there within the gale force winds, sandstorms, and tsunamis of life.
He meets us there.
He is waiting for us there.
He loves us there.
He protects us there.
He knows and meets our needs there.
None of it surprises Him.
He is the God of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. And, He never fails.
It's odd to me that I felt called to speak of this now as I happen to find myself in a season of potential and promise.
Granted, it's on the heels of several seasons of grief, but perhaps that's why. Not so long ago, my heart was sore grieved in so many ways, on so many levels.
And, yes, I was ever seeking the silver lining.
That's not to imply life is perfect, not by a long shot. But, He has been there for me through all of the storms. And, He continues to be.
Come h*** or high water, we are able to take shelter under His wings, and there are glimmers of light, glimmers of hope, glimmers of promise.
Finding a way to stand in His victory under the shelter of His wings in the most desolate of desert wildernesses is a gift, one we can live our way into... with His help.
And, it's always good to remember, He's not done with us yet.
In the darkest moments, there's a dawn yet to come.
For every Friday, there's a Sunday.
Thank You for showing us in Your Word that despair is part of the journey. Now that we know, the moments won't take us by surprise.
Thank You for giving us blueprints throughout Scripture of how to walk those challenging times well.
Thank You for sending the gift of eternal Light and Life, and the Peace that Passes all understanding, that we may know "... joy comes in the morning."
Thank You for being there with us on the darkest days, and for helping us to remember that the victory is won.
We trust You. We choose You. We love You.
In Your most precious names we pray,
"Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." ~ Nehemiah 8:10
"Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." ~ Romans 5:3-4
"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith—more precious than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." ~ 1 Peter 1:6-7
May the Good Lord bless you and keep you, friends... always, in all ways. Amen.
Bonus song of praise... ♥ (Yes & Amen!)
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