At the level of my emotions, this has not been a morning to sing show tunes from “Oklahoma.” You know. . . that jump-out-of-bed-with-a-spring-in-your-step little tune that starts with “Oh, what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day. I’ve got a wonderful feeling, everything’s going my way.” Not this morning. If things were going my way, things would be a lot different.
You see, just when I try to convince myself that everything’s going along fine (that’s what we’re told to believe isn’t it? aka – “positive thinking”) I come face-to-face with reality. And I think that’s a good thing.
Today, the family of one of our CPYU staffers is grieving the loss of a fifty-something father to pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed in March, he passed away two nights ago. I can’t imagine. Today, a close friend heads to the doctor wondering if test results indicate the presence of chronic disease that will be a life-changer.
Yesterday, I ran into another friend while picking up a bunch of bagels for the aforementioned grieving family. This friend’s a widow who lost her husband to Parkinson’s just 10 months ago. Incredibly lonely, she goes to a local eatery every day just to be around people and work through her grief.
Today, one of our CPYU volunteers heads out for a battery of tests, trying to get to the root of some major issues. In addition, this person is looking ahead to some surgery.
This is not the way it’s supposed to be, is it? And I think it’s a good thing to keep these matters at the forefront rather than brushing them aside because they are downers that inhibit our happiness. I’m learning that a healthy understanding of sin, suffering, and brokenness leads to a deeper dependence on God, a greater understanding of our need for a Redeemer, and a deep longing for things to be made right.
This morning, I sought out and prayed this powerful prayer from “The Valley of Vision”:O CHRIST,
All thy ways of mercy tend to and end in my delight.
Thou didst weep, sorrow, suffer that I might rejoice.
For my joy Thou hast sent the Comforter,
multiplied thy promises,
shown me my future happiness,
given me a living fountain.
Thou art preparing joy for me and me for joy;
I pray for joy, wait for joy, long for joy;
give me more than I can hold, desire, or think of.
Measure out to me my times and degrees of joy,
at my work, business, duties.
If I weep at night, give me joy in the morning.
Let me rest in the thought of thy love,
pardon for sin, my title to heaven,
my future unspotted state.
I am an unworthy recipient of Thy grace.
I often disesteem thy blood and slight thy love,
but can in repentance draw water
from the wells of Thy joyous forgiveness.
Let my heart leap towards the eternal sabbath,
where the work of redemption, sanctification,
preservation, glorification is finished
and perfected for ever,
where thou wilt rejoice over me with joy.
There is no joy like the joy of heaven,
for in that state are no sad divisions,
contentions, evil designs,
weariness, hunger, cold,
sadness, sin, suffering,
persecutions, toils of duty.
O healthful place where none are sick!
O happy land where all are kings!
O holy assembly where all are priests!
How free a state where none are servants
except to thee!
Bring me speedily to the land of joy.
So, if there’s any reason to jump out of bed with great joy, that reason is to be found in the first three words of Psalm 93: “The Lord reigns.” Thanks be to God for not leaving us to ourselves.