I am thinking about the years to come today.
I've never been one to get depressed about the anniversary of my birth marking another year gone by. I'm thankful for the years of life and hope to see many more years of happiness and love, family and friends, even bitterness and grief. I read a post on Cjane's blog this morning written by a husband on supporting his wife through the loss of their child (she was seven months pregnant). He said simply at one point, It’s difficult to know the sweet without the bitter.
This morning I've been thinking about the moments of grief in my life and how I, as one who hopes in Christ, have faced those moments. While I've had my times of weakness in the face of difficulties, I have also found precious moments in "being still." I love that verse in the Bible. Grief is something so important in our lives, I think. Yes, we should have hope and joy. But I don't think that means we wont be confronted with sorrow. Or that it is wrong to experience grief and sorrow.
In sorrow I've found purpose and growth, beauty from ashes, dancing from mourning. The pain from those experiences remains, but it has become a part of who I am and changed my life and faith in so many ways.
I believe it is possible to know sweetness in life without bitterness. But I know that the bitterness and grief have deeply changed and will change how I know and experience joy.
I know this is kind of a heavy post. But today, on my birthday, my prayer is that I will better come to know the meaning of long-suffering, remembering what has been done for me through Christ and the promise of daily mercies and grace I cling to in his name.
I read a devotional this morning by Elizabeth Elliot, and she put perfectly what is in my mind this morning,
When Jesus hung on a cross, the challenge was flung at Him: Come down! He stayed nailed, not so that spectators would be satisfied (that miracle, his coming down, would have been a great crowd-pleaser), but that the world might be saved.
Many of our prayers are directed toward the quick and easy solution. Long-suffering is sometimes the only means by which the greater glory of God will be served, and this is, for the moment, invisible. We must persist in faith. God has a splendid purpose. Believe in order to see it.
"Our troubles are slight and short-lived, and their outcome an eternal glory which outweighs them far. Meanwhile our eyes are fixed, not on the things that are seen, but on the things that are unseen" (2 Cor 4:17, 18 NEB).