Psalm 126:4-6 (NLT)
Restore our fortunes, LORD, as streams renew the desert. Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.
What is this feeling that is so foreign to me? Where is my usual optimism? Why am I in the midst of a valley of emotions when I should be dancing on the mountaintop rejoicing? It appears that the Lord has delivered our son a fifth time from cancer. Who gets those kind of results unless God is with them? Yet I feel so alone in this melancholy. Finally, when I could thrust the weight from my shoulders no more after shifting it back and forth all day, I decided to define this emotion. There is power in knowing what you are up against so I set out to find it. “Guilt.” Was I feeling guilty for not being there for our children at home and my husband who I dearly love? I thought that was it but looking up the definition that wasn’t it “Shame.” I have done my best through this journey to glorify my God and acknowledge His Care and Faithfulness. “Regret” Now I was getting warmer, although I do not regret my own actions as I have been powerless in this fight. Regret also means grief. Grief to feel sorrow or remorse. To think of with a sense of loss, disappointment or dissatisfaction. A feeling of sorrow, to mourn or to grieve. Is this sorrow that I am feeling? Why yes I believe that it is! There is no comfort in my revelation but at least now I know where to look to find my answer. The opposite of regret, grief and/or sorrow is to rejoice or have joy. Regret is to weep in one’s spirit for that which is lost. The only grief that the Lord finds acceptable is that which produces repentance. It is not for the righteous. Restore our fortunes Lord as streams in the desert. Who needs money in a hot, dry place? They do not need more cash such a person needs one thing to survive – water. I know that the Lord has a plan to restore all that has been taken from us in this fight against cancer. But before that happens, I do not want to die in my spirit in a wasteland called grief with my faith and hope dried up due to sorrow and pain. My heart breaks for our son who has survived but now must thrive again. The Lord has promised that those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. What do I plant? Seeds of righteousness, of course. The Words of my mouth that praise His Name according to His Word and His Promises rather than what my senses perceive. Where is the water? In the Well of His Word, that revitalizes my dry soul in the midst of a drought. There will be a harvest in the planting of these tears.
Proverbs 14:13 (NLT)
Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.
This grief that I feel may be hidden from the world. It is not intentional. My sadness and sorrow are personal. It represents the things that I have lost in my suffering along the way. This is not the Lord’s doing while I wait for His Return on every heartache and disappointment experienced along the way. I know He is coming. I know that He will do what He said. The world may not agree with me so it is better to have laughter hide this broken heart than to risk the unintentional darts fired against my faith. Those who do not understand hope will not encourage me to wait, but for those who are experience grief and sorrow today while standing on their faith understand what I am saying. Grief is keen mental suffering or distress over affliction, loss, sharp sorrow or painful regret. There are not many who will not find themselves somewhere in that definition. Grief is not reserved for loss caused by death. Joseph grieved the loss of his family in the midst of prosperity. He named his son, Ephraim meaning “God has made me fruitful in the land of my grief.” Grief does not mean that you do not have faith or that our hope has drifted from the Lord. It means that we are human. We have feelings of loss, disappointment or dissatisfaction implying that something is left undone. It is. Your sorrow has meaning. Your broken heart was not in vain. Solomon said, “Sorrow is better than laughter because sadness has a refining influence on our soul.” (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4) Life or death situations causes us to stop and evaluate our lives more closely. We must decide what really matters and leave the rest behind. I am a different person after this awful ordeal. I am not the same as before. I will never be the same and that is a good thing.
Isaiah 53:3-6 (NLT)
He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the sins of us all.
God is all about the details of our life. He leaves nothing undone. When God completed creation, He rested because it was finished, complete and lacking no good thing. From beginning to end, every day was planned and grace already afforded for every single sin mankind would ever commit. Can’t wrap your brain around that? Neither can I really. As Isaiah points ahead to Jesus Christ, He is described as “a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” Jesus knows exactly how you are feeling. He provided for this when the Lord carried our weaknesses to the Cross. It is hard to see past the pain of today and praise Him for tomorrow’s promises. It is difficult to maintain joy when suffering is sucking you dry. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine but it cannot remove the grief gripping our heart and draining our spirit. Jesus can. God is not just a first responder. He doesn’t just come in access the problem, fix it and turn it over to someone else for restorative care. “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.” (Psalm 56:8) Each sorrow that we bare in the good fight of faith, the Lord keeps track of. Each tear we cry while we try to hold on to hope as our heart and life falls to pieces, He collects and keeps. Not only that, He doesn’t carelessly do so but He records each one. Why? He is perfecting that which concerns you. (Psalm 138:8) He is making good on His Promise to work everything together for our good. (Romans 8:28) Jesus didn’t die just to save you. No He died to renew, restore and revive you as well. God leaves nothing half done so don’t hold too tightly to your grief or become acquainted with your sorrow! Joy is coming.
John 16:20-21 (NLT)
I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world.
Having five children, I understand the suffering of labor pains. I can attest to the fact that once my child was born that my anguish gave way to pure joy each and every time whether they were happy to be here or not. Each time a woman has a child, she will have discomfort called “afterbirth” pains. After each child they become worse, but I cannot really remember how they felt or how long they lasted. Now if you want me to tell you about my kids, then you better take a seat because I could go on and on about these blessings that the Lord has given me… in my pain, suffering, discomfort and labor. The Lord is telling me today that I will have incredible joy after the pain is over just to hang on. Is He telling you the same thing? I hear in my Spirit the Lord telling me and maybe it’s for you too – “It’s gonna be worth it!” He overcame the world and everything in it so He has the power to restore all that has been lost. He is aware of our sorrows and also warned us to expect them. (John 16:33) We just have to get through the grief of what we think we lost, cannot handle, will never be again to give birth to our joy!
Job 19:25-27 (NLT)
“But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought!”
You know the kind of action movies when you think the hero is dead and gone then suddenly an arm shoots up out of the rubble and he comes back to save the day. This is my thought of Job in this moment. He lost everything a man can lose in this life except his own life which sometimes I think is more brutal. To sit in the rubble of the past wondering how to step into the future because nothing is what you thought it would be. Stricken with infirmity and a disbelieving, nagging partner and friends who didn’t get it at all, the man says, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives!” Hold on is that an arm I see shooting up out of the rubble of a broken life to grab hold of His Promises once more. It all comes down to what we KNOW. Genuine faith is not what we think it is what we KNOW to be true about our God. I needed to hear this Word today. I KNOW that God is faithful. He has healed our son of cancer FIVE times. If necessary, He will do it again. I KNOW God has provided for every single need in the midst of this journey! We have lacked nothing. I KNOW that our son will live and not die to declare the works of the Lord so why should I live to do the same now. See when I focus on what I KNOW rather than on what I don’t know like when this journey will end, when relief will finally come, or how God will restore all that we have lost – I am no longer grieving what is lost but rejoicing in what I KNOW is coming! Thanks Job! It was worth it for you – it will be worth it for me!
Psalm 119:14 (NLT)
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Yes, I have been experiencing grief and sorrow the last couple of days but that only means that joy is coming. God will not leave me in this place but has given me the Holy Spirit to help me in my weakness. His Grace has proven over and over to be sufficient for me. The Word of God is the foundation of my faith. If I can find it in the Word plant it in my heart, it will grow into that Promise I am waiting for. Yes, I will water it with tears sometimes that is just a part of life but not a single tear is wasted. The Lord redeems them all. God redeems those who serve Him. (Psalm 34:22) He redeems us for no other reason than we are precious to Him. (Psalm 72:12-14) One day pain, sorrow, suffering and even tears will all be gone. (Revelation 21:3-4) But until that day, I will bless the Lord. I will tell others that I am redeemed. (Psalm 107:2) He not only has healed our son but I know that the Lord will redeem his lost time, lost life, lost friends, lost everything, too. I can be at rest. My soul can rejoice. I know that His Goodness and Unfailing Love is just about to overtake us. My sorrow is recorded with every tear that I have cried. God has not ignored them. He is using them to plant prosperity in my life.
Psalm 119:107-112 (NLT)
I have suffered much, O LORD; restore my life again as you promised. LORD, accept my offering of praise and teach me your regulations. My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions. The wicked have set their traps for me, but I will not turn from your commandments. Your laws are my treasure; they are my heart’s delight. I am determined to keep your decrees to the very end.