Friday, January 23, 2015

Sorrow Is One of God's Tool

[When preparing His disciples for His upcoming death on the cross, Jesus said to them:]
…you have sorrow now, but I will see you again,
and your hearts will rejoice,
and no one will take your joy from you.”
John 16:22, ESV

On the very day my heart was particularly sorrowful over several situations, my daily readings took me to the January 20th devotional in Streams in the Desert. There I received new insights (much appreciated ones, I might add) regarding the benefits of sorrow. (Yes, benefits of sorrow.) 

I had to stop frequently as I read, in order to reflect on the meaning of sentences such as this one: Sorrow is God’s tool to plow the depths of the soul, that it may yield richer harvests.

In that reading, I also found this short verse by Maltbie Davenport Babcock (1858-1901), a clergyman and writer who also authored hymns (including one of my favorites, This Is My Father’s World).
The dark brown soil is turned
By the sharp-pointed plow;
And I’ve a lesson learned.
My life is but a field,
Stretched out beneath God’s sky,
Some harvest rich to yield.
Where grows the golden grain?
Where faith? Where sympathy?
In a furrow cut by pain.

My sorrowing heart gladly received those insights that helped me look beyond the sad realities and see the blessings sorrow can bring. For example, sorrow slows us down, causes us to think more deeply and seriously about life and relationships and plans, prompts us to cling even more tightly to our God, motivates us to seek to understand His will and His ways, reminds us of our human frailties and His omnipotence, reveals to us our total dependence upon Him, and much more.

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