In the devotional for the Sweet Simplicity study, I was told this morning to "identify one specific weed of worry, illusion or desire that you feel may be strangling fruitfulness in your kingdom walk right now." There is a specific worry in my life that came quickly to mind. It is worry over a loved one who is making destructive choices, choices that impact me emotionally and have brought me grief. I cannot control or change those choices, but I can turn my loved one and my worry over to Christ. I can learn the lessons that God wants me to learn in the midst of it all.
After completing the devotional, I opened Streams in the Desert and read this entry (I’ve bolded the portion I highlighted in my copy of Streams):
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. (Matthew 27:61)
Oh, how slow grief is to come to understanding! Grief is ignorant and does not even care to learn. When the grieving women “were sitting there opposite the tomb,” did they see the triumph of the next two thousand years? Did they see anything except that Christ as gone?
The Christ you and I know today came from their loss. Countless mourning hearts have since seen resurrection in the midst of their grief, and yet these sorrowing women watched at the beginning of this result and saw nothing. What they regarded as the end of life was actually the preparation for coronation, for Christ remained silent that He might live again with tenfold power.
They did not see it. They mourned, wept, went away, and then came again to the sepulcher, driven by their broken hearts. And still it was only a tomb —unprophetic, voiceless, and drab.
It is the same with us. Each of us sits “opposite the tomb” in our own garden and initially says, “This tragedy is irreparable. I see no benefit in it and will take no comfort in it.” And yet right in the midst of our deepest and worst adversities, our Christ is often just lying there, waiting to be resurrected.
Our Savior is where our death seems to be. At the end of our hope, we find the brightest beginning of fulfillment. Where darkness seems the deepest, the most radiant light is set to emerge. And once the experience is complete, we find our garden is not disfigured by the tomb.
Our joys are made better when sorrow is in the midst of them. And our sorrows become bright through the joys God has planted around them. At first the flowers of the garden may not appear to be our favorites, but we will learn that they are the flowers of the heart. The flowers planted at the grave deep within the Christian heart are love, hope, faith, joy, and peace.
It isn’t always easy to accept that joy is made better with sorrow in the midst. Yet I know, in the deepest part of my soul, that this is true.
Next I opened my Bible to the Psalms and began to pray the first one my eyes fell upon. It was Psalm 25. And as I prayed, three verses became my heart’s cry in regard to my worry over my loved one:
He will instruct [me] in the ways [I] should choose. (vs. 12b)
Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. (vs. 17)
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, LORD, is in you. (vs. 21)
God is so faithful. He is always near.
In the grip of His grace,