Sympathy

A friend and I have recently suffered similar losses. We have both found some comments from lovely and well-meaning people to be maddening. Many a wise thought we acknowledge, understand, believe and even trust, but we do not feel. Sometimes, even those dearest to us and most respected by us cannot sympathize with our state of mind and heart. Or it may be that even if they actually could, we still do not perceive that they can. We only feel akin to those who are in a similar state or can clearly recall being in a similar state. This sympathy is so precious. It also legitimizes the love and thoughts you receive from that person in a way that similar love and thoughts from others cannot compare. They just don’t understand — are not moved in their gut the same way.

That precious gift of sympathy reminds me of the precious gift of sympathy followers of Christ have. We know that our God is perfect and on high, and yet STILL, because he was made flesh like us, subjected to trials and temptations and still found to be perfect, He is a God who can sympathize with us in our weakness. In our moments of self-loathing, of doubt, or of hopelessness over all manner of situations, He understands how one gets to that place, though he emerges perfect through all such trials and temptations. He is not just lofty and immaterial, but also walked the earth and was subjected to its darkness and senseless sorrows, as well as enjoyed its loveliness and joys. The One who judges and has mercy and sacrifices and saves and shows grace is also one who sympathizes and comforts. How worthwhile to follow with loyalty such a leader! And how much more precious His commands to us, given this sympathy.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since therefore the children [we] share in flesh and blood, he himself [Jesus] likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 18 For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Hebrews 4:14-16

14 Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are,yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

An Intriguing Song – Joy (Page CXVI)

Listen to this song, “Joy” sung by Tifah Al-Attas, and see if you laugh or not!

The dissonance between the words and the melody/demeanour sounds ludicrous at first. But once you understand the sort of struggle it is to have an attitude of joy amidst intense grief, it isn’t so funny. It’s strangely identifiable. You find yourself at peace with how things are, but also overwhelmed with loss, and you can’t pretend that everything will be alright in the end, but you can know that God is working purposefully, if for no purpose you can see.

Read Tifah’s story of loss behind writing this song: http://blog.pagecxvi.com/post/683764188/joy

Alternatively, you could watch this video of a live performance where she explains the song to her audience first.

Alas, I do not laugh anymore when I hear this song, for I understand its artistry too well now.

A Crushed Spirit

Spotlight on Proverbs 17:22 KJV with Strong’s #s

A merry<08056> heart<03820> doeth good<03190>like a medicine<01456>: but a broken<05218> spirit<07307> drieth<03001> the bones<01634>.

My interpretation after reading Strong’s references

A . glad/rejoicing . heart/will . makes well . like a cure, but . an afflicted spirit/a stricken breath . withers the self.

ESV

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Why do I post this? The quick answer is that the phrase resounds on my mind. A crushed spirit can really sap your strength to stand up. But I find the causation in this verse hard to process. A joyful heart is a cure, but a crushed spirit withers you; so how do you get cured of a crushed spirit? How does one get from crushed spirit to joyful heart, if a joyful heart is the cure? There seems to be a missing step.

The only way to bridge this that I can see is to begin to get a joyful heart even while your spirit is crushed. How so? Imagine stricken and asthmatic weeping, drawing tight rasping breaths that sap all your energy. And now, will yourself to rejoice in the salvation that the Lord has given in Christ. Not easy. Thankfully the Father gives mercy even for our inability to rejoice in His love. And he is pleased by perseverance in this matter, I know. No lies, Satan; no matter how crushed our spirit, there is much to rejoice about.

 

P.S. “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”  – Paul, Philippians 4:11

As for me, I must learn in whatever situation I am to be content. (Learn again and again and again…)