Friday, March 09, 2007
Sing to the LORD, you saints of his; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said,"I will never be shaken."
It’s funny how the Holy Spirit brought this verse to my mind. I was thinking about my morning drive to work. I have a routine. I listen to the local Christian radio station which plays modern praise & worship during my drive in. It just made me think “joy comes in the morning.”
Then I thought, “weeping endures for a night but joy comes in the morning.”
Naturally this made me get on the computer to find the entire scripture and there it is. Is it rocking you like it rocks me?
So many times I’ve not just been ashamed of who I am right now but ashamed for who I used to be. I was a glorious mess back in the day. That isn’t what I’m really thinking about though. I’m thinking about the rejoicing of the morning. The morning of my heart when I finally awakened to the love and favor that was waiting for me. I had to grow into that understanding. I was the child of an angry God for a long, long time. Believing in Christ’s love for me and feeling it were two different things. On the former I had no issue, the latter eluded me.
I’m actually sitting here now trying to remember when I turned that proverbial corner into love’s embrace. I think it started when my marriage bottomed out. I say started because in the midst of that crisis I sure didn’t feel particularly loved or loveable. But what I did experience was true and utter desperation for a touch of God like I had never felt before. Not that I’d never needed anything or prayed before. But I really felt that if God didn’t save, literally save, my life; I wouldn’t walk away from this in one piece. Being driven to my knees in utter dejection I found in my humiliation a gentle God that I hadn’t seen before.
At twenty five years old and with a husband who openly hated me on a daily basis; I saw nothing in the mirror worth loving. My night of weeping was four years long. The four years grew progressively empty until I was praying not just in passing, but locked in my bedroom and on my face. That is where the gentle God reached me. I had emptied out my “I’m sorries.” along with my list of offenses and sins and failures and faults. I moved to my angers and bitternesses and fears. Once all that had been spoken there was just me drowning in my own tears with just the tiniest frail hope that maybe God would bother with me one last time. I saw no other relief but death. If this sounds ugly and harsh to you; let me assure you it was an ugly and harsh time. I wished for anything that would get me out of this crushing agony.
Do you wonder why this would be the place that I felt the love of God? If you’ve been there; you know exactly what I mean. The emptying out of the self is a painful process. The stripping away of pretense and preconceived notions of Christianity and God, for some of us at least; happens with such terror that we almost lack the courage to face it.
The church couldn’t help me.
My faith didn’t immunize me.
My intelligence couldn’t solve it.
My fortitude didn’t soothe the pain.
My family couldn’t save me.
I had to let go and let go and let go and it felt like I was melting from the inside. For four years I melted away until nothing was left except what was real. And what was real was love.
The layers of my own understanding peeled away leaving me soft and vulnerable to whatever God really was to me. To me, he was the joy after the long night of weeping.
If you are in that night, do not deny the tears or the process of the melting away.
Only the morning is real.
Awaken to love.