“When Job’s three friends….heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.” (Job 2:11-13)
This is such a beautiful picture-and the only thing these friends did right. once they open their mouths, they increase Job’s suffering, rather than add comfort. so often words are not needed when grieving. words are our attempt to make some sense out of it, some lesson, some platitude. anyone who has experienced deep deep grief would agree i think.
so i’ve been silent these days. i’ve been at a loss for words. there is no sense to be made, no lessons really. just grief.
and so much that is going wrong. parents are without children. wives are without their husbands. families are without a home.
and it’s Christmas. the time we celebrate the Long Awaited One who has been sent. the One who emptied Himself of all but Love. The carols play, Joy to the World, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King. The thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.”
But what about when it seems like the King isn’t the one ruling this earth? what about when the weary ones cannot find rejoicing. what then?
And these groanings-this earth groaning-this heart groaning. groanings that only the Holy Spirit can translate. i am so thankful that He translates the groanings into words that i can’t find.
As we sit and watch an old favorite, one that i memorized for school back in the third grade:
“Every Who down in Whoville liked Christmas a lot;
but the Grinch who lived north of Whoville, he did not.”
“Christmas it came, it came without boxes, it came without trappings…..
it came without tinsel, it came without wrappings….
Christmas it came, it came just the same.”
(i did that all from memory-no offence intended to the author by my mistakes)
Christmas it came, it came just the same.
and i took those words in. i’ve seem similar ones in that Book of all books;
“…If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods of worship the image of gold you have set up.” (dan 3:17-18)
“i heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled.
Yet i will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. (on this evil invading us)
Though the fig tree does not bud adn there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls
yet i will rejoice in the LORD,
i will be joyful in God my Savior.” (hab 3)
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So it is with you; Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything.” (john 16)
Even if He does not…..yet i will rejoice….But I will see you again and you will rejoice-
and no one will take away your joy.
you will not longer ask.
i will be without words-only this time because of joy, and not grief.
and so the song that struck me (there is always one) at the beginning of December-the words that caused me to stop in my tracks and listen.
and so i pray…Thou lovely Source of true delight, Whom i unseen adore; Unveil Thy beauties to my sight, That i might love Thee more. Thy glory o’er creation shines; But in Thy sacred Word, i read in fairer, brighter lines, my bleeding, dying Lord. ‘Tis here, whene’re my comforts droop, and sins and sorrows rise, Thy love with cheerful beams of home, My fainting heart supplies. Jesus my Lord, my Life, my Light, O come with blissful ray; Break rediant through the shades of night, and chase my fears away.
i am waiting, i have not forgotten. you have said, no one will be able to take away my joy. oh my Lord, restore to me the joy of Your Salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. quiet me with Your love. Be my Strength, oh Sovereign Lord, make my feet like the feet of a deer, enabling me to go on the heights. and when i say my foot is slipping, support me with Your faithful Love. in the multitude of my anxious thoughts within me, cheer my soul with Your comfort.
Your comfort-that comes with words. the perfect words. the joy-filled words. Oh Lord, You are the only one who can speak into grief-
and restore joy.
Joy to the World, the Lord HAS come.