Wasting Sorrow


      I think our greatest impulse in pain and sorrow is to find relief, comfort, escape.  I know it was so for me in what was the most painful period of my life some 25 years ago.  I hurt.  I hurt with a pain that was to me, indescribable.  I wanted it to end, and I sought Him constantly for it to end.  I prayed and read His Word.  I sought the counsel and comfort of friends in Christ.  I haunted Christian bookstores, looking for volumes that would offer hope and comfort.  One day, as I browsed such a store in Charlottesville, Virginia, I came upon a book with the unappealing title, Don't Waste Your Sorrows by Paul Billheimer.  Waste my sorrows?  This would seem to suggest that there was some good in them, and such an idea was totally alien to what I thought life in Him was to be.  Yes, I knew that the Word called Him "the man of sorrows," but somehow, though I would never put it into actual words, I believed that sorrow was something He underwent so I wouldn't have to.  At least not to any great degree in this life.  Still, I bought the book and began to read.  I would not have thought it at the time, but the Father used that book as a door to coming into a fuller, deeper knowledge of Him than I had heretofore known.  I've a friend who likes to talk about praying "hitherto," and "henceforth" prayers.  In effect, before and after prayers.  How we not only pray but relate to Him before we enter into deeper revelations of Him, and how we pray and relate after He has revealed Himself to us in a much greater way.  Before this darkness, I knew Him in one kind of way.  He would use this place of pain and sorrow to cause me to know Him in a new, more beautiful way.  Beauty from ashes.
     As I said, we react to pain by trying to avoid it, and if that fails, to find a means of escaping it.  If we call ourselves His, then our expectation is that He remedy the situation, and in the fastest way possible.  We believe suffering and sorrow have no place in our lives, but He shows us that they not only have a place, but a purpose.  I'm not saying that He wills suffering and sorrow for us, but we have to come to grips with the truth that we live in a fallen, broken world, and though we are His, we are not immune from the effects of that fall and that brokenness.  His promise to us is not that we will escape it, but that in it, if we will allow Him, if we will not waste the sorrow, we will, in Him, grow stronger, deeper, and higher in our spiritual walk.  We will come to know Him not as we wish Him to be, but as He is.  Christ, the man of sorrows, leads us into the presence of a Father who not only knows our sorrow and pain, but can bring healing and life to us even in the midst of the deepest pain we have ever known.  
     Psalm 18:11 reads, "He shrouded (covered) Himself in darkness, veiling His approach with dense rain clouds."  This is not an appealing picture.  As small children, so many of us are afraid of the dark.  Few if any ever really outgrow that fear in the realm of emotions and spirit.  Yet the Father tells us that He will use that darkness to display His glory, faithfulness and love.  Verse 12 of that same Psalm reads, "The brilliance of His presence broke through the clouds."  It will.  It did so for me, and continued to do so in the many dark periods that followed that time of pain.  It continues today.  So it will, He will, for you today......if you, if I, refuse to waste our sorrows.  He will use them as steppingstones to His life.  Life that is ours through Christ....the Man of Sorrows.  The Man who knows, understands, and heals yours and mine.

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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