I’ve written many times on the difficulties of life, of suffering and pain and loss.
Perhaps it’s because I see this as such a startling, overwhelming theme as I trip along the path of life, but isn’t that the case with most of us? Life’s suffering leaves us gasping for air, or gulping in sobs.
Over the last decade or so I’ve been pondering, how do I as a believer and disciple of Jesus Christ find joy, particularly when dark shadows rarely part to let the lightness of light brighten my days? Recently Dennis tweeted this quote: “Pleasure is nothing else but intermission of pain.” Pain is normative, pleasure is temporary. Okay, Lord. I’m learning.
But I have to say I have found moments of great joy in the last few months studying the Bible with my oldest daughter and some other women. Specifically we are learning about the Jewish feasts and their prophetic relevance to our lives. Perhaps this may seem like an odd antidote for pain; our Jewish brothers and sisters who lived through hell on earth did so by holding fast to the promises of being returned to their land one day. Our American brothers and sisters in Christ who endured ill treatment as slaves found temporary relief by singing about future deliverance in heaven.
And yes I know my dark days are nothing like the deep night of either of these. But I’m digging deep into the study of Scripture and focusing on my own future deliverance from sin and disease, which brings me that longed-for joy in the midst of my own ‘light momentary afflictions.”
Ashley and I and about 20 other women are reading everything we can find on the seven Jewish feasts given to God’s people in what I always assumed was an infinitely boring book, Leviticus. Instead of sheer boredom, I’m discovering sparkles of light ricocheting from the gems nestled deep in truth-laden ritual. God knew finding these treasures would give me hope. Seeing the precision of His faithfulness gives me joy, reminding me that indeed nothing is accidental with God, nothing is random; therefore everything about my life also has purpose.