Outside the Darkness Are Certain Colors

 

A Poem of Certain Colors

Living in darkness
no color I see
a hint of deep blue
maybe red–
but no, only blackness

Tears flood the darkness
trying to wash away
the blackness
to reveal the color
I know must be near

I’ve heard stories
of vibrant yellow sunshine
smiling green trees
happiness in rainbows
streaming across
a pale blue sky

But in the darkness
these colors
are but myths
draped in blackness
obscured by
the pain I feel

Then suddenly
the Light comes
dim colors
revealed to my eyes
for my heart to see

The Light
drawn by my tears
came to wash away
the blackness
tears alone
could never heal

The colors of
my world brighten
day by day
as the Light illuminates
the truth of colors
that were always
just outside the darkness

“Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, along the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles—
the people living in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”

Matthew 4:15-16 (NIV).

This poem was originally posted on my blog, Linda Kruschke’s Blog, about my own struggles with major depression and the Light who has helped me see the beautiful colors depression had obscured.

 

God Keeps Your Tears in a Bottle

I have cried many tears in my life. If you have never cried, you can stop reading right now. But if you have shed tears for yourself or for others, or if like me you have shed some without even knowing why or where they came from, take heart. God knows the tears you have shed. Psalm 56:8 says so. Here are several translations of that wonderful verse:

Record my lament;
       list my tears on your scroll —
       are they not in your record? (NIV)

You have taken account of my wanderings;
         Put my tears in Your bottle
         Are they not in Your book? (NASB)

You keep track of all my sorrows.
      You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
      You have recorded each one in your book. (NLT)

Write down my poem of sadness.
      List my tears on your scroll.
      Aren’t you making a record of them? (NIRV)

I love the image of God keeping all my tears in a bottle. I can envision shelves filled with bottles in Heaven, each with a name on it, and an accompanying scroll documenting every tear and lament. Or maybe it is just one huge bottle with all of our tears mingled together.

Today tears are being shed in dark rooms where children are being held as sex slaves, in Africa as people remain homeless and without food and water, in the United States as many remain jobless, in hospitals and on the streets where the mentally ill are forgotten, in homes around the world where people are spiritually lost and have no hope.

We live in a fallen world. Tragedies happen and humans are not always kind to one another. And so tears are shed. It is hard to fathom God collecting every single one, but He does. He notices and He records each tear and each lament.

The more I think about it, I like the idea that God has mingled all our tears together. The Psalm does refer to God’s “bottle” in the singular. And if He has collected every tear in that bottle, then mingled with our own are the tears of Jesus. In John 11, the apostle records this event: “Jesus wept.” John 11:35.

In this passage, Jesus weeps when He learns of the death of Lazarus.

When they see Him weeping, the people say “See how he loved him!” John 11:36. But I don’t think Jesus was weeping because Lazarus was dead – He knew He was going to raise Lazarus from the dead. Rather, I think He wept because of the compassion He felt for humanity as we weep over our own tragedies and losses. It is us that He loved so much that it brought Him to tears.

So if you weep today, remember that God is collecting your tears in His bottle, and mixing them with the tears of our dear Savior. Not only that, but God will deliver you from the final trial that lead to tears by redeeming your soul.

For you, O LORD, have delivered 
   my soul from death,
   my eyes from tears,
   my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before the LORD
   in the land of the living.

Psalm 116:8-9 (NIV).

 

Flourish-61

Linda’s blog is at http://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/ Please check out all she has to say.  Linda tells me that it is absolutely guaranteed to bless, or your money back!

Joy Comes in the Morning

“I will test you
with the measuring line of justice

and the plumb line of righteousness.
Since your refuge is made of lies,

a hailstorm will knock it down.
Since it is made of deception,
a flood will sweep it away.”
                                   ~Isaiah 28:17

The ways in which our Father tests us certainly can seem clandestine to closed eyes.  Most of us familiar with our own trials and tragedies would agree that these excruciating circumstances are spiritual tests.  I know I’ve had my measure of the mire.  I have lost three children — one to an abortion — and I have also lost three precious people to suicide in three years, and several more as well.

There are times I can scarcely comprehend the magnitude of what I have lost.  Some days, it is a hourly struggle to remind myself of the goodness of God in the midst of my oceanic anguish.  I pray constantly for the blessing of relief — even through the maddening rage of my grief — and I have a handful of blog subscriptions (including this one) that help me stay focused.  Many times, the words I read provide the precise encouragement I need.

I have devoured The Book of Job many times, and God’s speech always gets me at the end.  But, recently, I realized that Job’s three friends not only failed Job, they also failed in the eyes of God, who tells Eliphaz, “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken accurately about me, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7).  While the focus of the book is obviously on Job, that verse made me realize something very significant.

When so many bad things happen to just one person, is God testing just one person?  Is The Almighty so short-sighted?  Wasn’t He testing Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite as well?

Is not the same true for us today?  When we see our brothers and sisters enduring their own fires, isn’t God testing us through them?  Do we understand the magnitude of our Father’s love so very well as to serve Him so gratefully by serving others?  The purpose of loss is not suffering, but to learn compassion for those who are suffering.  In that sense:

Injustice is the measuring line of justice,
and suffering is the plumb line of righteousness.

Such evidence demands a verdict.  For without injustice, we have no need to demand justice.  And without suffering, we have no means to express our faith in gratitude through service.  Through my many trials, the times I have experienced the greatest joy has not been when God has taken away my pain — but when I have ministered to others in pain.

Granted, serving others does not remove my anguish or my struggles, but it has been through my suffering that I have come to understand the suffering of others with profound compassion.

And that brings me a wonderfully excruciating joy.

“Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.”
~Psalm 30:5b

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