The long, dull, monotonous years of middle-aged prosperity or middle-aged adversity are excellent campaigning weather for the devil. ~CS Lewis
He drove into my kidneys the arrows of his quiver; I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long. He has filled me with bitterness; he has sated me with wormwood. He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him; let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope; let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults. ~from Jeremiah, in Lamentations 3
Oh beloved, it is true.
It is for us, those who have given up, and given into the Great Love that pursued us across the millenia, a conundrum. Oh, it is not that we are alone. It is that we are in such great company. We, in our youth, thought that life was to be only about joy. And in this, we were right.
It was just that we had no idea about what joy really was.
And we, those closer to 100 than to the day of our birth, have only begun to understand.
And all of the things like this…
They, the things that hurt in life, are the grit and gristle He is using to shine us into His likeness. And hopefully, in the pain of the moment, we can see beyond the haze and slurry. In our better moments, we are beginning to see that this life really does go by quickly.
We are not, in our better moments, worn out by life. We find that we are actually beginning to see that life is going by too quickly. We are far from ready for Home. We know that He is doing everything that is necessary for us to reach that Place, but we are really desirous that we do not arrive there in some sort of grinding of eternal gears.
We would rather arrive, and see Him with relief, and not with regret. And, we see so much in ourselves, even after decades of His polishing, that give us a godly sorrow. So, it is now that we welcome the abrasions of life. We welcome them. Though we have been put into a right relationship with Him, we are still so blind to what all this means.
Can we see it?
As our eyes are opened, we realize that pain, sorrow, and suffering really are a quicker path to our desire to be free from ourselves, and to be fully His. G_d is not sending junk our way to give us a hard time. G_d is sending the stuff our direction that give us the most direct path to knowing Him personally, radically, and freely.
Would you allow this fool of a writer to preach for a moment? Beloved, the warfare in this life is not meant to wear you down. It is meant to make you shine. The suffering of this life is not meant to punish you. It is meant to bring you to joy in Him. The losses of this life are not meant to impoverish you. They are meant to pry your hands open, so that He might fill them with true riches.
So, are you feeling the drag of age on your life? Has the battle brought you to tears? Good. You might be on just the right track. Tonight is your night, beloved. Embrace the pain. See it for what it really is.
Written by Makala Doulos: Makala Doulos is a child of G_d, a husband to his wife, a father to his children, and a teacher to his students. But mostly, he is a prisoner set free by Jesus. Love has invaded his life, crushed it, and made it new. Now, G_d’s Love is what constrains him to live in full surrender to the freedom The Father and Son and Holy Spirit have bought for us all. Grace and Peace to you all.
Peace does not mean the end of all our striving,
Joy does not mean the drying of our tears;
Peace is the power that comes to souls arriving
Up to the light where God himself appears.
Joy is the wine that God is ever pouring
Into the hearts of those who strive with him,
Light’ning their eyes to vision and adoring,
Strength’ning their arms to warfare glad and grim.
~Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy (1883-1929)
This Week’s Verse to Memorize:
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.– Philippians 3:10-11