A Time to Weep

Sun over Torockow
Sunrise in Transylvania

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


Sometimes there are no words that can be said about a particular circumstance.  There is no solution, no possible change or fix.

It is what it is.

Our response may start off with a deep sadness and tears, but when the magnitude of what this means hits us and there is weeping.

The “here I am, facing the biggest heartache of my life” situation is here to stay and there is nothing anyone can do to prevent it from barreling down. The grief comes in waves,  there is a deep sadness over what is or will be lost, and there are many, many tears.

There is a time to weep.

I am so thankful God and His people throughout the generations know these deep emotions. It helps take the edge off the pain a little to know that when we are feeling so deeply, we are not alone — even if we feel that way.

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress;
    my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
    my soul and body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish
    and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
    and my bones grow weak.[Psalm 39:9-10 NIV]

God knows and sees us in our grief and weeps with us. He created us with the capacity for a range of emotions and we are created in His image. And when we think we are facing the circumstance alone, it is important to remember that God can and will carry us through. It doesn’t mean there won’t be sadness or weeping. It means He is alongside us, leading us, carrying us, tending to us, providing for us, and showing His grace upon grace.

The Psalms are filled with believers in distress. There is just a sampling below. I take great comfort in knowing that I am not alone when my grief is profound. I have His Word to remind me of His love and provision from the beginning of time.

Psalm 4:1  Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

Psalm 18:6  In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.

Psalm 20:1  May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

Psalm 31:9  Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.

Psalm 55:17  Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.

Psalm 81:7  In your distress you called and I rescued you, I answered you out of a thundercloud; I tested you at the waters of Meribah. 

Psalm 86:7  When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me.

Psalm 102:2  Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.

Psalm 102:5  In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones.

Heartache is never fun to walk through. If you are challenged with fresh or long-standing grief, I pray that you find comfort in God’s promises and His Word. Ask a friend to pray with and for you. And please don’t hesitate to find a healthy pastor to visit with.

On the way,

Liz

PrayerPoints ~ Thursday, March 17th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 88

“O Lord, the God who saves me, day and night I cry out before you. May my prayer come before you; turn your ear to my cry.” Psalm 88:1-2

Wow. If you read through Psalm 88 you will see it is full of  a lot of loss. It is good to read through it and know that I am not the only one who has felt devastation.

Even though the circumstances are not identical, we each travel through seasons of loss and discouragement. If you are in a good place now, I am sure you can recall the emotions and grief of a difficult time. If you know someone going through a time of loss, please pray for them. Let them know you are praying for them. And, if you can, take time to walk alongside them.

I know my faith has grown in times of struggle but those times always seems to come with a “breaking point” where things are so difficult that I am not sure I can handle one more problem. Standing “in the gap” with someone (through prayer and encouragement and reminders of God’s provision) can be hard and yet so beneficial to the person struggling.

May you be a blessing today to someone in need!

PrayerPoints ~ Saturday, February 20th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 10

“You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.”    Psalm 10:17-18

It may not always seem to be true, but God does hear our desires. God hears the cry of the oppressed. There are times I get impatient with the amount of time it takes for a resolution to come for those who are suffering. It seems like they suffer a lifetime of grief. Other times I take issue with how the situation gets resolved because it isn’t quite the way I imagined it should go.

But we do live in a sinful and fallen world. And while I have a busy imagination, I cannot even fathom how God is going to work most things out. Sometimes He works in an instant but oftentimes He works through years and generations. He has a much bigger picture in mind!

I believe that God also asks us to hear the desires of the afflicted, encourage them, and defend the fatherless and the oppressed. But how often are we just too busy with things to take the time to listen?

I have had an amazing opportunity and privilege to be home with our four kids as they were growing up. Even though life was very busy, I knew it would have been very difficult to fit in a full-time job and remain sane. We didn’t take yearly vacations and we don’t drive fancy new cars, but I always try to be intentional about listening and encouraging those who are traveling through a difficult time. I may not have any answers or be able to offer much in the way of assistance, but the listening part is important. Listening always gives me things to pray for.

As you go about your weekend, practice listening. If you have a tendency to mindlessly scroll through your cell phone while in conversation with others, set the phone down and try to really connect and hear. There are so many distractions available these days that make the hard job of listening to another’s pain easier to ignore but don’t be complacent about connecting with others. God wants us to be His hands and feet and share His Good News of His saving grace but we often need to listen first to make a good connection!

 

CrossRoads

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ CrossRoads

Every day I find myself at intersections where I am called upon to choose how I will respond to my day and to my circumstances. Are there challenges? Of course there are. But I do not want to be accused of blowing momentary troubles out of proportion by whining and complaining. Much of what I deal with is momentary. It’s just that some moments last longer than others! Every day I see heartbreaking stories of really difficult circumstances. I have lived through a few myself as I am sure you have. Life on Earth has joy and pain. Thankfully, as we trust and serve an amazing God we also have the opportunity for His perspective and His life transforming work in our every day.

We all come up against crossroads. Sometimes we travel through accident-prone crazy intersections and some of our journeys take us to easy and relaxed places but each crossroad leaves us with a choice — not necessarily in the outcome of a situation but our response to the circumstance. Unfortunate and disheartening struggles are common in this life — death, disability, abuse, job loss, unplanned pregnancies, critical illness, violence, financial crisis, family feuds, etc — and while they may shape a perspective, they do not have to define a person. It is understandable for it to take time for people to work through difficult situations ~ grief and healing are not processes to race through. God’s work in my heart is more like a crock-pot than a microwave. It takes time for me to work through things.

Here is how I would ultimately like my crossroads to define me ~ that I would be found trusting and relying on my Heavenly Father to meet my every need. That I would follow His lead, rest in His love and provision, and let Him infuse any circumstance with His forgiveness, grace, mercy, and peace.

Do you know someone at a crossroad that needs prayer? Have you considered quietly but deliberately praying for them and their decision-making during this time? Sometimes we see people at a crossroad before they realize they are there. If you have been given eyes to see that kind of situation I would encourage you to lift them up in prayer!

See you at the CrossRoad!
Liz