Daily Riches: Feeling Joy In a World of Pain (Lynne Baab)

“I find it quite challenging to accept the notion that we have some sort of responsibility before God to enjoy the good things of life. For most of my adult life, I’ve had an inner dialogue running through my brain along these lines: ‘How can I truly enjoy this wonderful event when 22,000 children will die today of the effects of hunger?’ – ‘How can I relish this beautiful weather when 11.4 million Syrians are displaced from their homes?’ Ever since my mid-twenties, I’ve been much, much better at mourning with those who mourn rather than rejoicing with those who rejoice. However, I’m doing better these days enjoying God’s good gifts. I want to reflect on how that happened. …

The Sabbath.  …In Jewish tradition, prayers of intercession are not appropriate on the Sabbath because it’s a day of rest. In contrast, prayers of thankfulness are encouraged. On my Sabbath day, when I start thinking about any kind of pain in the world, the kind of situations that might motivate prayers of intercession, I tell myself, You can think about that and pray about it tomorrow. Today’s focus is rest and being present to all of God’s good gifts.’ Over many years, that Sabbath habit has helped me turn off anxiety and sorrow, albeit briefly, and focus on the gifts of the moment. …

The Psalms. In the Psalms, confession, lament, praise and thanks recur over and over, reinforcing in my mind that there is a time for everything and that life should be lived in a rhythm. Yes, it is completely appropriate to grieve over Syria and to pray for refugees. But it is equally appropriate to stop and look and enjoy the beautiful clear eyes of a small child or a flower newly unfurled.

This reality has become more real to me over time as I have practiced lack of worry and sorrow on the Sabbath and as I have practiced thankfulness. My habits have changed my thoughts. None of the shifts described here happened very quickly for me. But I can see movement over time, and I have to say that after decades of feeling so much sorrow and sadness, having a good number of moments of joy is pretty wonderful.” Lynne Baab

““For everything there is a season…
A time to grieve and a time to dance.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1,4

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • Would you like a break from “feeling so much sorrow and sadness” over our pain-filled world?
  • Do you have a day in your weekly calendar where you can allow yourself to be “sorrow free?”
  • Can you see the value in such a day?

Abba, let me both weep and rejoice as I should.

For more: Sabbath Keeping by Lynne Baab

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Thanks for reading/sharing my blog. – Bill

Daily Riches: The Ever-Present God in Your Ever-Present Loss (Frank Bianco)

“Had the truck come one minute sooner or later … had the drivers stopped for coffee … or skipped a break … the accident might never have happened. …As I began walking toward [the church], Tom called softly … ‘I’m sorry, old buddy. … Give God a chance. Listen. I think that’s what’s most important now. Just listen.’ God did not kill my son, I thought as I sat in the church. Then if there is a God, I asked, where did he fit in all of this? Something told me, ‘love.’ That was God’s most dominant characteristic, an all-encompassing, unqualified love….  If that was true, then God had to ‘feel’ the love I had for Michael. It had to be part of his experience. And he had to know my pain. … If he did, he had to feel as badly as any friend. At least that much. He had been as much a part of Michael’s creation as had Marie and I. He knew the joy that had been Michael. The pain had to cut him deeply. As deeply as it did me. He had to be grieving my – our – loss, sorrowing as Christ’s own mother must have sorrowed. All this was … pulling and then sweeping me along. The God I had reviled and rejected had been waiting to mourn with me, burdened with sorrow he would share with me. I felt so ashamed. I had been so wrong, for so long. Yet God had never given up on me. …Then, without warning, the experience of Michael’s death began to replay in my mind … surging up inside me, a mass of agony and pain, and I wanted to get up and run. But … I heard the words, ‘I know. I know. As you did, as you still do, I love him too. I know.’ I stayed put, weeping, as the pain poured out. But not alone. Not unconsoled. This time I wept in the arms of my God, whom I finally allowed to hold me….” Frank Bianco

“we know how dearly God loves us”
Romans 5:5

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Do you sense God grieving with you in your losses?
  • Can you “give him a chance” and let him show himself to you?
  • Can you let him just hold you?

Abba, why should I run from you when you’re only waiting to love me?

For More: Voices of Silence by Frank Bianco

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Putting Painful Longings in Perspective (Larry Crabb and Frederick Buechner) *

“First, our desires … are related not only to our fallenness but also, and more profoundly, to our humanness. In other words, it’s okay to desire. Second, when we look carefully at what we deeply desire, we come to realize that what we want is simply not available, not until Heaven. …Both errors in responding to our longings–hiding them in a flurry of Christian activity and focusing on them to find satisfaction–deny the simple truth that we legitimately want what we cannot have in this world. We were designed to live in a perfect world uncorrupted by the weeds of disharmony and distance. Until we take up residence in that world, however, we will hurt. It is, therefore, not only okay to desire, it is also okay to hurt.”  Larry Crabb

“… to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worse–is by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed.” Frederick Buechner

Scorn has broken my heart
    and has left me helpless;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
    for comforters, but I found none.
They put gall in my food
    and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”
Psalm 69:19-21 

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are Christians allowed to have emotions like loneliness, sadness, and disappointment? Do you allow yourself to feel these kinds of emotions?
  • Do you try to bury your emotions “in a flurry of Christian activity?”
  • Do you “steel yourself” against feeling “the harshness of reality” by sheer force of the will?
  • Imagine the loneliness, disappointment and heartbreak that filled the life of Jesus. He didn’t let these emotions rule him, but he also didn’t deny or bury them. He offered them to his Father and “let something be done for him” that was “more wonderful” than being strong. He experienced life from above while in this world corrupted “by the weeds of disharmony.” Can you let God do that for you?

Abba, help me learn to embrace my emotions – even the most painful ones. Help me not to fear them, but to allow you to work in me through them. Help me to discover something more wonderful than being strong. Help me to be transformed.

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For More: Inside Out by Larry Crabb

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Thanks for your interest in Daily Riches! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

Daily Riches: Putting Painful Longings in Perspective (Larry Crabb and Frederick Buechner)

“First, our desires … are related not only to our fallenness but also, and more profoundly, to our humanness. In other words, it’s okay to desire. Second, when we look carefully at what we deeply desire, we come to realize that what we want is simply not available, not until Heaven. …Both errors in responding to our longings–hiding them in a flurry of Christian activity and focusing on them to find satisfaction–deny the simple truth that we legitimately want what we cannot have in this world. We were designed to live in a perfect world uncorrupted by the weeds of disharmony and distance. Until we take up residence in that world, however, we will hurt. It is, therefore, not only okay to desire, it is also okay to hurt.”  Larry Crabb

“… to grit your teeth and clench your fists in order to survive the world at its harshest and worse–is by that very act, to be unable to let something be done for you and in you that is more wonderful still. The trouble with steeling yourself against the harshness of reality is that the same steel that secures your life against being destroyed secures your life also against being opened up and transformed.” Frederick Buechner

Scorn has broken my heart
    and has left me helpless;
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
    for comforters, but I found none.
They put gall in my food
    and gave me vinegar for my thirst.”
Psalm 69:19-21 

Moving From Head to Heart

  • Are Christians allowed to have emotions like loneliness, sadness, and disappointment? Do you allow yourself to feel these kinds of emotions?
  • Do you try to bury your emotions “in a flurry of Christian activity?”
  • Do you “steel yourself” against feeling “the harshness of reality” by sheer force of the will?
  • Imagine the loneliness, disappointment and heartbreak that filled the life of Jesus. He didn’t let these emotions rule him, but he also didn’t deny or bury them. He offered them to his Father and “let something be done for him” that was “more wonderful” than being strong. He experienced life from above while in this world corrupted “by the weeds of disharmony.” Can you let God do that for you?

Abba, this isn’t heaven, but in my pain I can still experience it.

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For More: Inside Out by Larry Crabb

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Thanks for your interest in Daily Riches! –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)