Dancing on the Ceiling

by | Joy in the Trenches | 0 comments

It’s been six weeks since Kiki died, seven since she became sick with the stomach virus that caused her death. There’s still a sense of unreality about it. I still pray for her and Mike when I pray for my kids and their spouses. Coming across her picture still brings stabs of pain. Time will soften some of these rough edges of pain, but it won’t take it away. There are some losses you never get over. They leave a gaping hole in the center of your heart.

As they should.

Loving deeply means you’ll grieve deeply when they’re gone, but I would never change a minute of that. I enjoyed every second I had my daughter . . . even those seconds that wanted to make me scream.

But time will reduce the hemorrhaging of grief that comes. In fact, I already notice changes. I can get up in the morning. I can even get through the morning most of the time. But I sure miss her.

This doesn’t mean I sit in my study weeping all the time. I do sometimes, but I’m also rejoicing. How? Why? I have always wanted to know how Paul’s words in the letter to the Philippians could be true.

Philip 4: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

How, in heaven’s name, can we be rejoicing always? In every circumstance? Are you crazy? Maybe Paul meant this applies only when our lives are peaceful. That would make sense. But no. A chapter before this (Philip 3), he writes:

“7But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith—”

So how can I rejoice even when suffering? How can I experience joy in the face of my daughter’s death and all the accompanying problems?

At first, I felt schizophrenic, crying one minute and rejoicing the next. Now I understand a bit more. We live in the time of the “Already but Not Yet.” The Kingdom of God is here, restoration has already begun. But we still live in this present evil world and are faced daily with the effects of the Fall. So we are the peculiar people, the ones who have a different perspective on life. Most of this world lives on the floor. We, because of our union with Christ, live on a different plane, in a different reality. I see it as we live on the ceiling. I’m sure the world sees us as being very upside-down. We are. In II Corinthians 12, Paul talks about a weakness God was using in his life.

7So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

The world tells us we need strength, power, wealth, self-confidence. Christ tells us we need Him. That’s it. Everything needed for our security, significance, and joy is in Him. I find it astonishing that God has so ordained that we will gain more of Him through suffering. Like the One Ring in Tolkien’s trilogy, fire will only reveal more of the Word. Not even Mount Doom can destroy this Ring!

Years ago I prayed Philippians 3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

God is answering my prayers. It’s not the way I wanted, but it’s the way I needed. And if I complain too much, I need to remember, it was through Christ’s sufferings that I was brought into the upside-down Kingdom. Who knows what God will bring out of mine. Sometimes, the glimpses He gives me of His love and glory is overwhelming. So please excuse me. I have to go dance now.

II Cor. 4: 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

Daily Keller

May 6, 2019

I am going to judge my circumstances by Jesus’ love, not Jesus’ love by my circumstances.

Daily Keller

May 7, 2019

God hates evil and permits into Job’s life only the evil that will completely defeat Satan’s intention. Yet at the end Job is never told the plan. He never learns why he suffered.

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