Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Trading Gloom for Gladness

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither My ways are your ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall My word that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void, but shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Isaiah 55: 8-11

I am so glad that God's thoughts are not my thoughts. I am so glad that He altogether knows me, and still finds a way to love me. I was just thinking that this morning, how great is His patience and mercy and grace toward me to lift my head above the gloom on this earth.

The dark days of winter affect  me and it's easy for me to get overwhelmed with all the bad things that are happening in the world. I just finished a long book about Stalin's daughter and read a fictional book about a man with Alzheimer's. It was downright depressing to learn about the crimes of Stalin and his poor daughter who never seemed to be able to escape from his shadow, no matter how far she ran. The man with the Alzheimer's ended up killing himself by the end of the book.

Suddenly I realized that if I choose to dwell on sadness, there is always plenty of it to go around. Misery sure loves company. Though it felt like the furthest thing from what I wanted to do,  I began to pray yesterday, and I started to praise and thank God for everything, even the so called bad things in my life, and the things I do not understand.  The heavy burden on my back suddenly lifted.

I may not realize why God allowed certain hurtful situations in my life to go on for such a long time. That is OK. He does know the reason, and all I need to do is to keep on trusting Him day by day, minute by minute. One day life in this vale of tears will be over, and I will see Him face to face. My questions will be gone in an instant.

Out of many exhortations in the Word, yesterday I stumbled upon Jude 1:21 which says to "keep yourselves in the love of God." Now what an encouragement that is to a melancholic personality, to always remind myself that God absolutely loves me and proved it by dying  on the cross.  I realized that I had let myself slip further and further from that very thing. It was easy to read about others' misfortunes and get caught up in a kind of morbid curiosity about it all. It is kind of like getting hooked into soap operas, caught up with imaginary characters with no basis in reality.

The end result is sadness. On the other hand, if I dwell on the fact that the devil has been defeated once and for all, I begin to share in the results of Christ's victory over sin and hell and death. I keep telling myself that it really is true, no matter how bad things look, we have read the back of the book and we win if we are in Christ.

"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." I Corinthians 15:26

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on the things above, not on the things on earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3: 1-3.

It is not boring to think about Christ, if  someone thinks that. Christ is the most interesting and the happiest Person who ever walked the face of this earth, even though He bore all our sorrows. If I dwell on His patience with others, His giving of Himself, His focus on God's will rather than His own, it will eventually rub off on me so that I might have the great privilege of extending a tiny portion of His grace to  weary and battered souls who are desperate in the gloom. It is about letting others see Christ somehow through this body of flesh. It might be just a small glimpse, but that is what I want others to see. And on my final day on this side, I want to say what David said:

"As for me, I will behold Thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake, with Thy likeness." Psalm 17:15

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