Photo Credit: David Joyce, Flickr
Yesterday, driving to an appointment, an old Chris Tomlin song came on the radio. It touched my heart in an unusual way. Familiar words, I Lift My Hands stilled my thoughts for the moment. God drew me to Himself, and worship flowed. Not even thinking, one hand on the steering wheel, my other hand rose… I made a note on my phone of that old song and didn’t think about it again. Then early this morning, the Bible reading for today was in Psalm 63.
Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise You. So I will bless You as long as I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. – Psalm 63:3-4
I wanted to write on joy today. Especially after reading Psalm 63-65. That unquenchable joy at all the good in our lives. New babies. Graduations. Weddings. Health. Milestones. Victories.
Then my newsfeed on Facebook brought the news that a friend’s sister died yesterday. Heidi Lodenstein – 47 years young. Adored by her husband. Two children at home. Glioblastoma. Devoted daughter of an all-loving God who chose not to heal the cancer here but received her Home, healed There. Sad? For that sweet family and friend group. Joy in grief?…abundantly so.
We lost a dear friend to glioblastoma a couple of years back as well. He left behind a much-loved wife and three darling little daughters. As we prayed through those months of his disease, while he fought for his life, we asked for miracles of healing. On this side of Heaven, it wasn’t meant to be.
At his funeral, Dave and I sat, tears on our faces, along with his family and friends. Sad with the loss of him. Yet, there was also something else. Something from so deep in us all, it had to push up and out. It was a strange and magnificent joy. How grateful we were to have known him. To have been a part of something bigger than all of us…with him. To be connected forever with each other by the God he trusted…and we trusted.
Joy. Even in that awful grief.
At that funeral, we lifted our hearts to the God who brought us all together…to be comforted together…and especially by Him. To breathe in the peace that we would see our friend again…whole and himself.
Whatever your situation is right now, my prayer for you is to know joy… May the object of your joy be the Lord Himself, who turns our weeping into dancing…our sorrow into joy [Psalm 30].
Worship with me.
I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, you are my strength
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember
You are faithful, God, forever
Be still, there is a river
That flows from Calvary’s tree
A fountain for the thirsty
Pure grace that washes over me
So let faith arise
Let faith arise
Open my eyes
Open my eyes
Sometimes our thoughts take us place we weren’t aiming to go. Today I wanted to write about joy. It flowed out of sorrow…but it flowed full.
Listen to the sound of my pleading when I cry to You for help,
when I lift up my hands toward Your holy sanctuary…May the Lord be praised, for He has heard the sound of my pleading. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.
Therefore my heart rejoices, and I praise Him with my song. The Lord is the strength of His people; He is a stronghold of salvation for His anointed. Save Your people, bless Your possession, shepherd them, and carry them forever. – Psalm 28:2, 6-9
[Postscript: Presently reading Rob Morgan‘s The Red Sea Rules: 10 God-Given Strategies for Difficult Times. It came at a good time.]