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PRAYING YOUR TEARS (PSALMS 30, 31, 32)

“FOR THE BELIEVER, LIFE HOLDS

DEEPER SORROW AND DEEPER JOY.”

(TIM KELLER)

WE SEE OUR SIN

AND KNOW IT HAS BROKEN THE HEART OF GOD.

WE SEE THE BROKENNESS IN THE WORLD

AND KNOW IT ISN’T HOW THINGS ARE MEANT TO BE.

YET, HERE IS THE PROMISE

IF WE SOW OUR TEARS,

HE WILL TURN OUR MOURNING INTO DANCING

MOURNINGINTODANCING526606_10151556780431469_1376690455_n

HE WILL REMIND US THAT OUR TIMES ARE IN HIS HAND,

Psalm31-15HE WILL REMIND US WHAT HE HAS STORED UP FOR US,

psalm31_19AND THAT, NO MATTER HOW DEEP OUR SIN,

FORGIVENESS IS GIVEN.

psalm325

HE, INDEED, IS OUR HIDING PLACE

AND HE WILL SURROUND OUR HEART

WITH SONGS OF DELIVERANCE.

All three psalms deal with the believer’s deeper sorrow and deeper joy. What we must learn is how to pray our sorrows, to sow our tears. Amazingly, our tears, when prayed, can actually reap a harvest of joy. And the sermon we will hear this week is one of my top three favorite Keller sermons — I’ve listened to it at least a dozen times. It’s actually on psalm 126, but has the same theme as these three psalms.

p126-sow-sheavesSunday Icebreaker

1. What stands out to you from the above and why?

2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.

Monday: Psalm 30. Joy comes in the morning.

On an earthly level, David is out of the caves of Abdullum and into his own home. He is also anticipating, finally, the building of the temple. His earthly sorrow has been turned to joy. But it is also important to see that David and the temple are types pointing to Christ.

3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:

    A. What praise do you find in these verses?

    B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?

    C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.

    D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.

    E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.

4. Read Psalm 30:6-12 aloud and then answer:

    A. At first I saw primarily David in these verses, but Patrick Reardon points out that in Gethsemane, Jesus did ask that he could be spared “this cup.” How might phrases from this passage illustrate that?

    B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?

    C. Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them.

Tuesday-Wednesday: Psalm 31: My life is spent with sorrow

This is a lament, and we see it in the words of Job, Jonah, Jeremiah, and Jesus. We can quote it too, when we lament. The lament is the way to stay close to God when you don’t see the end of the story, when He has not yet turned your mourning into dancing. You are honest with God, telling him how your truly feel. That opens the way for dialogue. In most of the psalms of lament as is true in this one, it ends with a resolution to praise and trust the Lord despite the fact that the psalmist is still waiting.

5. Take either Job or Jeremiah, if you can, and describe their sorrows.

6. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and find a passage that illustrates:

    A. The psalmist’s trust in God

    B. The psalmist’s longing for God to hear him

    C. The psalmist’s pain and feeling of being forgotten

    D. The psalmist’s resolve to trust the Lord

Verse 15 reminds me of a song Kathy Troccoli wrote that has always ministered to me. I remember Kathy singing this to Steve in our home during his illness — Steve in his chair, eyes closed. Him thanking her gently afterwards.

    E. How can verse 14 minister to you when God is doing things as you hoped?

    F. The psalmist, in verse 22 remembers another time when he felt forgotten, yet God came. Can you remember a time like that in your life so you can use it to speak to your soul?

7. Whatever pain you are going through right now, lament, using this psalm to help you pray your tears.

8. Read Psalm 31 in its entirety and if any part of this lament quickens you, stop and meditate. Share here.

Thursday: Psalm 32: Tears of Repentance

confession-and-the-transparent-life-jpegI think a big reason that this blog ministers is your transparency. Being real with one another and with God — not pretending to have it all together when we don’t — but then also, truly repenting. The U-Turn.

9. Read Psalm 32:1-4 and list reasons why it is important to keep short accounts with the Lord.

10. How do you make a habit of confession?

11. Read Psalm 32:5-7 and list the blessings of sincere repentance.

12. Listen to Sara Groves sing “Hiding Place” above and then, in prayer:

A. Confess the ways you are broken

B. Recall the Words He has spoken that show His love for you

C. Allow Him to fill your heart with songs of deliverance

13. Read Psalm 32:8-9 and find the promise and condition.

14. Come to Him now with a problem in your life and let Him teach you. Be still and listen –have a play-dough heart.

15. How does this psalm end?

Friday: Keller free sermon: Praying your Tears (This is actually on Psalm 126, but a similar theme to Psalms 30, 31, and 32): LINK

16. Share your notes and thoughts.

Saturday:

17. What’s your take-a-way and why?

 

 

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361 comments

  1. I’ve returned to reading this beautiful Psalms study of late……had dipped a toe in the water of this study some time ago……in April 2013 my daughter’s fiance (the son of our hearts) was tragically killed in the Middle East.  He was a Navy Seal and was injured in a country I can’t name, safetly whisked away to Israel, had 3 weeks of MIRACULOUS recovery…..and died from Pneumonia within 36 hrs of being diagnosed.  To my knowledge, Abel had not yet become a follower of Jesus………the sorrow?  There are no words.  Not having assurance of Abel’s salvation just knocked me off my feet…….believing friends had fervantly prayed for ABel…..his recovery was astounding – even the Dr’s couldn’t get over it……and then……suddenly he was gone.   Of course the grief continues……..and two months after his death my daughter revealved to us that she had been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer – at the age of 23.  Jes is also not a believer.  This has been a year of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, tears, sorrow……..well, so many of you KNOW.  I could write a book on this past year – and SORROW!!  But…….my faithful, faithful fellow believers upheld me last summer when my own faith was so very feeble…..and all I know is, there is no other life for me than following Christ.  I’ve returned to memorizing scripture again……and He has poured LIFE into me through His living Word!  Courage for the battle.  Even though I rarely comment, I LOVE this particular study and all of your participation.  Dee, the Holy Spirit’s fingerprints are always in evidence in your preparation……and all of you who are a part of this community contribute so much and have blessed and sustained me in amazing ways – even though you’ve had no idea!  THANK YOU ALL!  

    1. Jackie…..Your words touch me more than I can describe.  Thank you for sharing your deep sorrow with us.  I will add you to my prayers.  How sweet are your words about the living Word and the life and courage He gives.   That life and light is seen in your comments.  

    2. Jackie, welcome back. Your post so touched my heart–so much pain, I am so sorry. I’m moved by your faith “…and all I know is, there is no other life for me than following Christ” . Glad you have posted and hope you’ll continue to–your sorrow has reaped great wisdom.

    3. Jackie-welcome and oh …so so sorry to hear of your pain. Yes sorrow upon sorrow-devastating valley you have been in and I am encouraged by your testimony of how He has been your comfort through other believers when you needed to be held up-literally..and how he is strengthening you in his word. We will uphold you in prayer sister. so glad you are here.

    4. So glad you are with us Jackie.  Praying for your continued courage and comfort as you experience these losses.You wording was so good:  that “the Holy Spirit’s fingerprints are always in evidence in [Dee’s] preparation.”  SO TRUE — and I see such evidence of his fingerprints in the timing of the studies and the application for my life. 

    5. Welcome Jackie!   Thank you for sharing your sorrows with us — and I am awed by the quantity and quality of those sorrows!    You and your family will be in my prayers – especially your daughter.    I am so glad that you have been blessed by this blog while you have been a silent partner.

    6. Jackie, I am SO moved I have tears…..oh my, what long, stressful trials you have seen. I am also so very glad you found Dee and this blog. I have also been blessed over and over again by the participants here. Life is hard. I have also been through cancer this year. No chemo, but surgery and radiation. It turns your already upside down life upside down again. I prayed over and over, thanks to Joyce (thank you sister!) “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV) His Word. I will pray for you and your sweet daughter. Blessings to you.

      1. Laura…..I just have to say again how it SO amazes me that you went through your cancer surgeries and radiation with the exact same verse (Isaiah 41:13) that I kept clinging to through each of my 4 cancer surgeries.  Mine was almost 10 years ago now.  I was going to go through radiation, but ended up having a mastectomy (which wasn’t the original plan) so I didn’t need the radiation.  Joyce….I didn’t ‘meet’ you or Laura till almost a decade later, but you gave to Laura the same verse the Lord gave me.   Amazing and sweet!

        1. SO sweet!!!

    7. Dear sweet Jackie…my heart aches for you.  Welcome back and I hope you stay because we all love and pray for one another here and I’m already praying for you and especially Jes…and for her salvation.  
       
      God may have put someone in Abel’s  life during his last weeks…that prayed with him.  GOD knows all and you can just put your trust in him for all your questions and sorrows.  He adores you and can’t wait for you to awaken  each morning just to hear your voice and to think  of him or talk to him!
      You are so loved!!

    8. Dear Jackie, welcome, and your sorrow is palpable in your words…a devastating loss of your daughter’s fiancé, and your daughter’s battle with ovarian cancer and your fears and concerns for their spiritual conditions. It encouraged me to read of your faithful fellow believers who have rallied around you and supported you through all of this…thanking God for them! And thanking Him for the courage He is giving you. We will be praying for you, Jackie, and for Jes.

    9. You will also be in my prayers. Your sharing of  the joy received through  the memorizing of scripture is beautiful. Deep sorrow and deep joy is apparent. Thanks for your witness. May God’s love surround you.

    10. “all I know is, there is no other life for me than following Christ.”
      What a witness you provide, Jackie.  I am so sorry for all the sorrows you have endured and are enduring.  I too will be praying for you and your daughter, Jes.  So glad that you posted.

    11. Thank you for sharing Jackie!Praying for your dear Jes and family. There have been many sleepless nights as I stay awake thinking of those i love dearly who do not know the Lord. Praying for peace that  goes deeper than our understanding.

    12. I have been touched this past year with the knowledge that God uses me more completely in the periods of difficulty than in the periods of ease.  People, believers and non-believers alike, are watching more closely how we handle the difficulties of life and that draws them to Him.  May you also  know his peace that comes from being His messenger as you cope with these issues.

  2. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why? 

    Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
    and I did not cover my iniquity;
    I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
    and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

    David trusted God’s plan for salvation before He knew the specifics. Can’t quite articulate my thoughts about this but the verse definitely quickened my heart in regards to David saying this before the time of Christ., when so much was required for forgiveness (sacrifices). It was prophetic but perhaps also genuine trust?

  3. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    To be patient in sorrow as we sow our tears with Him-hiding in Him while experiencing unrelenting pain..and that as we sow our tears we will reap with songs of joy. 
     
     

    1. Rebecca–thank you for this “To be patient in sorrow…” I missed the “be patient” part and I think that is KEY for me!:)

  4. What stands out?    The amazing pictures, as always.  Well….the combination of pictures and captions/verses.   I could look at the child enfolded in the ‘grandparent’s’ arms for a long time.  The contrast and the love is astounding.    As well as the meaning….’my times are in Thy hands’.  I have a song named that……maybe I will find and share later.  Also…..when I perused the Keller sermon website for the first time, the sermon by this title was the one I most wanted to hear that day!  I didn’t take the time…..but will hear it this week 🙂   And how you said ‘we must sow our tears.’   Makes perfect sense….but I have never heard it said that way……nor thought of it as sowing and reaping…..even though I have known that outcome….  They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.….I haven’t thought of deliberate sowing before. 

  5. The photography is amazing this week–the first picture of the woman-soaring like the birds over the water, and you know you got me with the baby bird! And I almost posted Sara’s “Hiding Place” last week, its so been on my heart.
     
    I love this beginning “WE SEE OUR SIN AND KNOW IT HAS BROKEN THE HEART OF GOD. WE SEE THE BROKENNESS IN THE WORLD AND KNOW IT ISN’T HOW THINGS ARE MEANT TO BE. YET, HERE IS THE PROMISE IF WE SOW OUR TEARS, HE WILL TURN OUR MOURNING INTO DANCING”.
     
    This reminded me of last week’s sermon–we must have the dark backdrop, showing us our sin, before we can see His mercy, His grace, His promise in the rainbow. I think about when we are struggling, so many want to “make us feel better” and as we discussed last week can say insensitive things in the process. But we have received this promise of hope from the God of Power we studied last week–the One who IS able to turn mourning to dancing. The One who will give each of us the joy to dance like Laura-d! 🙂

    1. 🙂

  6. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?Wow… another week when EVERYTHING stands out.  Hard to pick what stands out most.  I’ve listened to Sara Groves’ song several times, and the last pic:  “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy” — such an encouraging promise.  That might stand out because the image is bigger 😉   OR because it is so encouraging.  I DON’T KNOW.  Indecisive here because everything IS SO GOOD!!

  7. 2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.
     
    Good question. I do think the believer experience a deeper sorrow when we look beyond our own pain and see what it does to God’s heart. The non-Christian I would think experiences more of a despair, a hopelessness. But as a Christian, I feel not only my own pain, but I consider how it hurts Him, and how far it is from His original plan, and that adds depth to the sorrow. I know that  joy is not found when my circumstances change, and it is not only for Heaven. He offers joy here  and now, as I turn eyes from self and onto Him.
     
    In my own life, I think about relationship struggles. Whether I have offended the other, or I am the victim, when I turn my thoughts from my own pain and think of how it grieves Him, how this is not what He intended relationship to look like, I feel a greater sense of sorrow. My pain is deepened by the awareness of sin. But when I then surrender it to Him, ask Him to work and heal, restore—I can begin to experience joy because my thoughts are lifted higher. Hopelessness dissolves and I remember I am not alone. I have a King who longs to help me. The sorrow is still there, but hope is added in—hope of healing, restoration, and of being made more like Him. And I guess its that sorrow + hope that brings joy.

  8. 2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? 
    Yes and no!  haha— I don’t like to be pinned down 😛
    No, I don’t completely agree.  Perhaps believers should experience greater sorrows due to grieving the heart of God, but I know that isn’t always true of me.  I still have experience considerable sorrow due to having my grubby little paws attached to things of this world, and I imagine that unbelievers might experience greater sorrows if that is all they have.  Plus, unbelievers also are created in God’s image; I think they also grieve for “what could be” (the God-shaped void).  I’m mostly uneasy with the idea of ranking suffering (an “I have it worse than you do” mentality).   Similarly, with comparing joy, I strongly believe that Christ-followers have the potential to experience the most joy.  I don’t think that is always the case (guilty here).

    Yes, I agree, the other side of the story 🙂     I believe that sorrow and joy are closely related.   Sorrow shook up my life so that I could learn (and continue to learn) what joy really means.  I was looking for a specific quote by some Christian (couldn’t find it!) and found a quote by Rumi.  I’m a little hesitant to quote him here.

    Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart, so that fresh, green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots, so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.

    After thinking about this question, I started to wonder exactly what joy is (still haven’t looked up a dictionary definition).  I found a whole page of quotations on suffering and joy (http://www.suffering.net/suffjoy.htm).  It’s hard to select one, but I especially appreciate this one from Spurgeon (even more precise than Rumi):

    “Your sorrow itself shall be turned into joy. Not the sorrow to be taken away, and joy to be put in it’s place, but the very sorrow which now grieves you shall be turned into joy. God not only takes away the bitterness and gives sweetness in it’s place, but turns the bitterness into sweetness itself.” Charles Spurgeon (on John 16:33)

    What seems more important to me is not whether believers experience greater sorrow and joy than unbelievers (because I DON’T KNOW — and I also don’t know how to measure it) but how God uses sorrow in lives of believers to bring about a joy sweeter than what could have been known without the sorrow, in this life as well as in the life to come.   I do agree with the joy part of the question, or at least that believers have the possibility of greater joy.

    If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.   It seems like such a process, and it is hard to pick one example because sorrows seem so connected; one builds on another in how God has brought and is bringing deeper joy to my life.  I grew up in the church, and so much of it was good.  I learned Scripture in a way that has stuck with me.  Yet, I learned to be the “good girl” — do what is good and right and achieve a lot.   I likely also used activity as a way to avoid or numb sorrow, to always be “happy.”   I burned out by the time I had graduated college.   Even this past week, I’ve become aware of and grieved family events I missed for most of a decade.  My whole foundation was shaken during a 5-10 year period in which I either experienced or observed “bad stuff.”  By the time I was in my mid-20s, I knew many people who had had worse experiences than I had — several didn’t survive (sheltered, rural good girl saw the worst of life).   God had to take me to the point of total dependence to instill deep joy and confidence in him.  That confidence is there now even when I am crabby and uncertain.   For example, I am very aware of the fears people have of dementia, because of my job, family history, and friends.   Though I’m not in love with the idea of needing round-the-clock care, it also doesn’t frighten me because I know that my worth in God’s sight is not based on what I can do.   God’s faithfulness in the past gives me joyful anticipation about the future.  And when I think about His faithfulness in the past and the future, I become more satisfied with the present.  (That could be my take-away 🙂 for the week because whether or not I experience joy is determined by if I focus on life’s “circumstances” or on Him).    

    1. I like both of your quotes, Renee.   (I had to look up Rumi to see who he was).   I think they both descriptively explain how God turns our sorrow into joy (even though they both may or may not have seen God as the provider of that joy.)   When I read them, it makes me long for more joy.  I seem to have no problem finding the sorrow.  It’s the joy I struggle with.  I agree with your query about ‘how would we measure it’? And that it’s more important to see how God uses sorrow or turns it into joy.  

  9. I reread the intro a few more times (ALL of it really does stand out) and scanned the upcoming study.  I think this week’s study, especially Thursday, could be one of the most powerful for me (and previous studies/applications have given it tough competition!).  I’m praying that I will be open to His work in my heart  and that God will reach all of us through this week’s study. 

  10. 2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life
    After last week’s long and draining discussion, I’m not sure I can take a strong stance this week!  By the end of the week, I was less sure and more confused.  And as I was just discussing with a friend, life moves so quickly at times, that before one can truly work through and process one ‘burning’ question….another arises.  Sometimes, maybe that serves to protect us.  Other times, it frustrates me.    My goal this week is to say less while thinking just as much.  Not easy for me.  
    One experience I had just today.  I was talking with an unbelieving friend about some of my ‘melancholy’ ways and I felt that she was telling me that I take life too seriously.  I go to too many funerals.  I try to support too many people.  And it makes me sad more than I should be.  I guess I can see that is true in some ways…..but when my heart feels sadness for another, I want to tangibly do something for them.  Her take seemed to be that I should think more about myself and and do something fun and fulfilling for me.  Explore more hobbies etc.  Still working through the whole conversation.  I know we are coming from two different places as to our philosophy of life and of spirituality…….But is my sadness/melancholy because of my walk with the Lord?  I can’t say.  I seem to see people who are believers have great joy and sorrow…….or sometimes, just the sorrow as they don’t allow themselves the joy.  And sometimes just the joy and they don’t look into their hearts enough to see the sorrow.  Some churches promote that…..only joy in the Lord.   Others promote more sorrow….more contrition…..less joy.  I also think that our own temperaments have to play a part.  So….even if this statement is true on a theological or theoretical level……I’m not sure it’s true on a practical level.  

    1. Wanda,  I totally agree with Dee’s advice.   Selflessly giving of ourselves  is frequently rewarded in ways that “thinking about ourselves”  will never do.   Judging by what you said concerning your friend, ” I know we are coming from two different places as to our phiolosophy of life and spirituality,”   I think that might discredit her counsel from the start.   My sister, please keep on keeping on! 

      1. Thank you, Dee and Deanna,
        I appreciate your words.
         

      2. Dee and Deanna,
        Just love the wisdom… This topic is deep and touches me as I listen to each sharing. Trying to get a handle on my own melancholy at this time.
         
        Thanks
         
         

        1. Shirley…..I’m glad to see you back this week!  You’ve been going through a season of changes and that so often brings with it melancholy.  You are in my prayers……for smooth transitions and ‘moments of joy….pinpoints of grace’  along the sometimes arduous journey.  
           

    2. Wanda, your thoughts here are all so good…“But is my sadness/melancholy because of my walk with the Lord?…I also think that our own temperaments have to play a part…” Yes, I think temperament plays a big part in how we see things and experience life. I know people who just are kind of shallow-“surface-y” in their thinking and they just don’t go very deep…don’t think much about pain or sorrow, just focus on the here and now. Then there are others who are very reflective, deep-thinkers and more melancholy.

  11. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    It was all good, but the woman standing in the middle of the field with arms outstretched to the Lord, and the caption from Psalm 32:5 really impacted me.    I have never in my life stood out in the middle of a field with my arms outstretched to the Lord.  Perhaps it is about time that I did! 🙂   However, I can identify with the feeling of release and relief from guilt of sin.  There is nothing else quite like it!

    2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.
     
    Yes, I think I do agree with the Keller quote.   I’m not quite sure how to explain why I feel that way.   In my own life,  I think being a Christian has definitely made me more sensitive to other people, and I have reached out to some who were sorrowing, and I have felt their sorrow.   It is what brings sentimental tears to my eyes.   I also think that I feel deeper joy — however, I think I still have a ways to go on that aspect.   Because of my relationship with Christ, I think I notice things (perhaps through His lens) that I might not even observe otherwise and that can bring me either deeper sorrow or deeper joy depending on what it is.    

    1. Loved your answer to 2 Deanna!

    2. “I have never in my life stood out in the middle of a field with my arms outstretched to the Lord.  Perhaps it is about time that I did!”

      =) maybe you should! 

  12. Renee and Wanda…you both give me lots to think about!
    Being a mom of a disabled grown daughter. ..people are always telling me to take more time for me and do more things for  me…me…me…me!!
    I’m like most of you…just a mom…but being almost 65 and taking care of a preschooler mindset in a big body is tiring….and mostly I just long to spend more time with my Abba Father and be his small child..on his lap…being held and loved.  That is my  desire…not to take up hobbies or anything else. That’s were I find my joy…is in him…when I am in communication with him ….reading the word….or praising him through song or listening to sermons.   I don’t watch TV…I try to read Christian books when I can.  My only downfall is facebook…as all my friends and family are on there and I can express myself there sometimes.
     
    Renee …you said you knew your worth in God’s sight is not based on what you can do.
    I sometimes…or most the time..think I’m here to care for Kendra and she is my  reason for being here.  I wish I didn’t think that and could think like you do. But I think she is my Worth alot and if i can do what God called me to do…I  am worthy.  I know in my heart that’s not right….but my mind tells me different.
    Wanda…I’m so much like you…I am a giver and want to help others any way I can.  I don’t think your sad or melancholy  is because you walk with the Lord at all…it’s because…..we see such pain and sorrow others are going through…it saddens us so much! The Lord wants us to love one another and helping and praying for others takes our mind off of your own pain or sorrow.  Your doing what God wants you too and it gives you joy. I can understand a non Christian telling you your sad because of your walking with the Lord!  You need to pray for her!
    I’ve been through much sorrow…sexually abused as a child…2 divorces..being beat all the time in the first…then being left with three little ones in the second. Losing parents, friends, close family…and each time brings me at the feet of Jesus…thanking him for my life and all my blessings.   I suffer with pain everyday from my back too…but feel if it werent for Kendra to take care of…I wouldnt keep pushing forward all the time like I do.
     Yes…I believe Keller is right…that believers experience deeper sorrow and deeper joy!
     
     
     

    1. Sweet words, Joyce.   Yes you have lived through and have risen above so many hard circumstances….and the joy is evident in you.   I can understand how you feel like your worth is in caring for Kendra.  Of course, to her you ARE worth everything.  Where would she be without you?  So that likely does keep you going.  It is very purposeful.  But I hear what you are saying about being tired….Oh that is very hard, Joyce.  I’m sure it’s also a worry thinking about the future for Kendra.  The peace for you when you need to make changes in her care will come from the Father into whose lap you can climb.   Thank you for your encouragement even in the midst of your own struggles.

      1. Thank you Wanda…yes she is my biggest worry…when I can’t take care of her anymore….but I know God has a plan and I trust  him in it.
        I’m so glad you found us here…I enjoy you so much here and on fb!

    2. Joyce, I hope you know how truly, you are a beautiful woman. You give and give and give…and find the joy in it. And this, “…and mostly I just long to spend more time with my Abba Father and be his small child..on his lap…being held and loved. That is my desire…not to take up hobbies or anything else.” Now I can pray that the Lord will give you the desire of your heart!

    3. Oh Joyce…the pain you have suffered in this life, and then I read “each time brings me at the feet of Jesus…thanking Him for my life and all my blessings”.  … “because we see such pain and sorrow others are going through…it saddens us so much!”  What a Godly woman you are…thank you for your example, for sharing your trials and perseverance in Christ.

    4. Sorry…not quite sure why this posted here…I’m sure it has something to do with user error…:)

      3A. What praise do you find in these verses?
      David is thankful to the Lord for the Lord’s help (healing and rescue).
       
      B. V. 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?
      “You lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me” (v. 1)
      “You brought me up from the grave” (v. 3)
      These texts speak of Jesus’ resurrection.  What appeared to be sin and death winning (crucifixion), was actually the Lord’s victory over sin and death (resurrection).
      “His anger lasts only a moment, but His favor lasts a lifetime” (v. 5)
      When Jesus was suffering on the cross, God’s wrath was unleashed; Jesus suffered physically and emotionally/spiritually during this time.  The suffering, albeit brutal, intense, beyond imagination, was momentary.   Jesus was raised from the dead; Jesus’ resurrection revealed the mercy and love of God, the Lord’s victory over sin and death, the promise of our redemption.
      “weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (v. 5)
      The weeping and grief of Jesus’ crucifixion turned to rejoicing/joy Easter morning…He has risen!

    5. Oh Joyce, you have been through so much! My heart aches for your sorrow. And yet you still love and still run to Him. An inspiration. Blessings to you today, you are in my prayers!

  13. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    The dancer (of course!) is beautiful and is really making me get my head wrapped around three pieces I want to share with the people on the blog. My goal is to film tomorrow,Wed, and Friday and share on the private Facebook page. Hope all goes well!
     
    The baby picture is awesome too! And I was just looking at my Keller sermons yesterday and reminiscing about “Praying Our Tears!” Is that the sermon this week Dee? So ironic…or maybe not.
     
    2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.
     
    Well initially I think, “Yes,” but I’m really not sure. Can non believers feel deep sorrow and joy? I suppose deep is relative, right? My atheist friend is experiencing deep sorrow right now because her mother is struggling with her health and is beginning to go through the painful trial of aging, just as I went through with my mom for the past few years. I think the difference with me and her is that because I have Jesus, I have a “crutch” that continues to lift me even in the lowest times. I can relinquish the worry and pain to Him and know He is in control. I don’t have to be the problem solver. It is relieving. A weight is lifted. In that respect, I suppose I feel more joyful in sorrowful times. I have a support.
     
    Let’s see if the converse is true as well…let’s say I am in a very joyful mood. Life is good! Although I am feeling on top of the world, I might feel a deeper sorrow because I am focused on myself and my earthly “blessings.” I am reminded by some “voice” that I should be focused on something much larger not here on earth. I realize that Jesus died on a cross for ME and here I am celebrating me and my accomplishments and probably not thanking Him for helping me be who I am, and not acknowledging His part in my success. So I might feel extremely down that I am so “human.” I don’t want to disappoint my Father. 
     
    It all seems kind of backwards to me…..
     
     

    1. Looking forward to the results of your goal, Laura 🙂

    2. Can’t wait to see you dance Laura!
       
       
      Oh by the way I love the baby bird picture…as I love animals so much…especially dogs and birds!!

    3. Laura, I can so relate to your last paragraph…when I take joy in “worldly” things…the “voice” is heard that says these are not things that will last and I can’t be so focused on them. Good luck with the filming!

    4. Laura-I thought of you immediately when I saw the dancer…wondered if it could even be you, for a moment. =) 

      1. Oh how I wish that was me!! It is so beautiful.

  14. Laura……I really like how you worded your feelings of joy in the midst of sorrow.  The picture of support/’crutch’ lifting up and relinquishing control is helpful to me.  And so true.

  15. Thanks again for the warm welcome!  For listening to my sorrows and entering into them with Christ’s graciousness……Wanda, for the words you received from Dee, Deanna, Joyce and others…..I just add my “Amen!”…..there is so much wisdom there…..and my heart too is saying just “keep on keeping on”…….Deanna was so wise to remind us to be CAREFUL of the weight we put on the “advice” we get from those in our lives who may love us….but maybe are not following Jesus as we would desire to.  Joyce comes from a place of daily living out the mercy of Christ in her care for Kendra……and all who responded to you of course have suffered deeply or are suffering deeply.  Nonetheless…..following Christ.  
    The praises I see in Psalm 30 are to the God who is the OVERCOMER…..no matter how bleak the night, joy comes in the morning!  He doesn’t let our foes rejoice over us, he heals us, he restores us to life, his favor is for a lifetime……
    Reading these verses in light of Christ’s death and resurrection led me to Isaiah 53.  The older I get, the more I see my need to ponder this beautiful and difficult chapter of scripture.  verse 11 says that, “out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;”  – to get back to Psalm 30, we see  that Jesus had many foes (mainly the “religious”), he repeatedly cried out to God for help (in Gesthemane….on the cross….), and he tasted fully death and Sheol.  And overcame them all.  In these 5 verses I see our need to praise and thank God …..and get our heart right!  His favor IS for a lifetime…..joy DOES come in the morning!  The question for me is, “do I believe Him?”.  2 Cor 4:17 fleshes this out a bit more…..calls me to get my perspective where He wants me to – my affliction is “light,momentary”….in view of the very ETERNAL weight of glory that it is, in fact, preparing for me!  I love the next verse…..(18)…..”as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”  This seems to me how Jesus was praying when he asked that “this cup” of God’s wrath would be taken from him……”nevertheless, not my will, but thine”.  As Hebrews 12:2 tells us “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame….”  Back to Psalm 30…..v.7 is SO poignant as I remember Jesus calling out on the cross “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”……the Psalm here says “you hid your face; I was dismayed.”   This simple little phrase that I’m sure we can all relate to – but oh my, how can we EVER know what this meant on the cross for our Saviour?  The King, The Creator…..his Father’s face hidden from him……OH the SORROW.  
    From my personal life……one “sorrow” that has been ongoing in my life since my conversion 26 years ago……is that my husband is not a follower of Christ.  I know that others of you in this study have a similar story.  Of course, my prayers for 26 years have been that Casey would become a believer……but that is yet to be!  And so……we journey on…….my husband living by what is “seen” …..and I living by what is “unseen” – well, I live that VERY IMPERFECTLY!!!   But oh so HOPEFULLY!  Two of our three children are following in their father’s footsteps……sorrow upon sorrow – again, many of you understand this.  
     

    1. Jackie…..thanks for your words too.   There’s so much more of a story (which I can’t share here) about the ‘friend’ who gave me the advice. Some deep irony to be sure.   I also went to Isaiah 53:11 this past week.  ( I read Psalm 30 at the beginning of last week when I was out of town without a computer.  I was thinking that was going to be last week’s lesson) and I too looked at that verse in chapter 53……I like how you called the chapter ‘beautiful and difficult’.  Though it is nearly impossible to pick a favorite portion of scripture, for years I have felt that Isaiah 53 is the one I would pick.  Jackie……you’re right.  Several of us (myself included) resonate with praying for our children to come to (or come back to) the Lord.  Being heard and cared for here can be so encouraging.

  16. 3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:
        A. What praise do you find in these verses
     
    Praise that God saved him (David) from his enemies. He was downcast and sad and God raised him up.
     
        B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?
     
    Well, I do think Jesus’ enemies gloated initially; they stripped him and gambled for his clothes, they jeered at him, they made a  down of thorns and made fun of him being a supposed king. Of course, God had the last word and Jesus was resurrected in the morning as verse 5 states. I see all these verses pointing to the resurrection.
     
     

  17.     C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
    Yes; you lifted me out of the depths, you healed me, you brought me up from the realms of the dead, you spared me from going down to the pit; I would say there are plenty of reasons to be joyful listed here!

  18. 2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life. Yes. The joy is often articulated amongst Christians and I have experienced the deeper sorrow but  had never articulated it as such, or heard it said, but it is so true.  I think especially in regards to the world, seeing the broke and lost. 

  19. 1. What stands out to you from the above and why?
     
    The “sowing”…this caught my eye; from Keller, about praying our sorrows, “sowing” our tears, and Psalm 126, “…those who sow in tears…he who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow…”  There seems to me a different meaning between these two; sowing our tears versus sowing in tears. Or maybe it’s just the way my brain is working this morning…The sowing in tears suggests to me continuing to walk by faith, continuing to do the things God wants me to do regardless of how I feel at the moment-maybe even blinded by tears, but not giving up all hope. I am wondering exactly what is that “seed” I am supposed to be carrying…it could be all the fruits of the Spirit, faith and hope in God…perhaps the tears are the water for the seed that makes it grow.
     
    2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.
     
    Yes, and no…I agree with Renee that “perhaps believers should experience greater sorrows due to grieving the heart of God, but I know that isn’t always true of me.” And, that “Christ followers have the potential to experience the most joy. I don’t think that is always the case.” I also wonder, how can one truly measure joy and sorrow? We only know what we see on the surface, or what a person is willing to openly share of their heart. But many people do not feel comfortable laying themselves bare, emotionally speaking.
    I often feel that as a believer, I should be experiencing much more joy than I actually do. I let a lot of things steal my joy. Sometimes it’s not dealing with my own sin, or it’s feeling as if circumstances are hopeless, or maybe I have mild depression. I struggle to feel “happy” when people whom I love are having a hard time. Or, I’m neglecting my relationship with the Lord. The daily strain of a difficult relationship is tiring.
    The deeper sorrow, on the other hand, comes at those times when I do “see with my heart” how Jesus suffered for me, how He was a “Man of sorrows, and well acquainted with grief”…when I am tempered by the brevity of life and the wasting of time on things that have no eternal significance, when I see a living person who I know is perishing spiritually. I guess the unbeliever would not be thinking on these things. And the deeper joy comes only at those times when I am experiencing intimacy with Him, when He may speak to me through His Word or some other way. Joy comes with recognizing that the good things in my life come from Him and being thankful to Him.

    1. Susan, your thoughts and questions about sowing in tears and sowing our tears are so good. I also felt that there is a difference and I’m not sure about the whole meaning.  But your comment that we press on even when we are blinded by tears is such a vivid and I think relevant thought.  So true.  I am intrigued by your comment about watering the seed with our tears for surely that happens as we sometimes cry endlessly for the salvation of a loved one…..and for deliverance and relief in other ways.  

    2. Susan, I’ve been reading and rereading this phrase that you wrote “…when I am tempered by the brevity of life and the wasting of time on things that have no eternal significance, when I see a living person who I know is perishing spiritually.”  And I’ve been reflecting on my life and relationships and thinking “What DOES HAVE eternal significance?”  I was too embarrassed to post it because it seemed like a “dumb Christian question” (or at least an inappropriate one).  I just don’t know how much common Christian activity or even some methods of sharing the Gospel have positive eternal significance.  Some Christian expectations seem more related to expectations of other people than a response to God.
      As I stared longer at what you wrote, I think you began to answer my question with “the deeper joy comes only at those times when I am experiencing intimacy with Him, when He may speak to me through His Word or some other way.”  That may be at the heart of what has eternal significance for us and for others.  As He speaks to us, as we experience intimacy with Him, He is creating that eternal weight of glory for us and as we lift Him up, He woos others to himself.  
       
      It’s hard for me to tell what has eternal significance.  Maybe everything has eternal significance … some for good, some for evil.  Yet that line of thinking and constant evaluation seems like it could lead me on a dangerous path of fear/works.  Intimacy with Jesus may be all that has (positive) eternal significance ???    I appreciate your thoughts about eternal significance.

      1. Sometimes it’s a simple matter of me deciding that something around the house can wait (cleaning) until later, and I need to go spend time with my mom and dad…that’s the doing something that has eternal significance to me…helping others or somehow bringing happiness to them or giving of my time!

  20. 3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:
        A. What praise do you find in these verses?     Praise that the Lord God lifts up,  thwarts enemies, heals (delivers when we call for help), protects from the pit…from eternal destruction by redeeming  from the grave.    Praise to God’s Holy Name,  Praise for His lifelong favor in contrast to His momentary anger and that He transforms weeping into rejoicing.  
        B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?  The prayer rings with Jesus’ words and experience.  God the Father lifted Him up from the dead.  He defeated the enemies of sin, death and the devil when it appeared that they had triumphed.  When Jesus cried out to His Father on the cross, He was healed.  Not healed at that moment from the physical pain and injury of the crucifixion  but healed through death first……where His spirit was commended to His Father and later his body and spirit were united as He rose again in a fully glorified body.  God bought Jesus up from the grave, from Sheol. (NASB)  I think this is a confirmation passage that Jesus descended into hell as stated in the Apostles Creed.  Jesus experienced hell for us so that we can be spared.  The NASB says ‘Thou has kept me alive so that I should not go down to the pit’  The NIV says “you spared me from going down into the pit”.   I think this is a reference to the pit of eternal destruction….He won the victory and rose again conquering over Satan.  He didn’t remain there as one who was in Satan’s captivity.
        C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can     Sorrow produces joy because God redeems that sorrow.  He redeemed Jesus’ life from hell.  He redeems our lives from the punishment of hell.  God’s anger: his abandonment of Jesus on the cross when Jesus was really forsaken and separated from His Father, was but a moment in light of eternity.  Because Jesus was redeemed from death and hell……we can be redeemed from both.   AND we apply this to our daily lives because God purposes to redeem all of our pain and sorrow ….. to lift His countenance upon us……..make His face to shine on us…..give us peace and give us joy.

  21. 2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.
    I have spent too long yesterday morning and this morning trying to put this into words-I am not good at that..Lord may you be glorified through  my stumbling and bumbling here. 😉
    I agree with Keller but I am sure once I listen to this sermon He will help me see things I haven’t seen. Mine has to do both with my sin and with the brokenness in this world and how He has come to me lately. This deep rooted sin was huge so I have to share.
    He has come in via melting my heart with His beauty first over the past four or five years..and He is turning my desires into his..so this is really all Him leading me to repentance in this.  So lets start with the fact that I am NOT a generous person! With my treasure and I haven’t been since I came to know Him in 1988.  I think I have been in my comfort idol’s arms in this for years. His beauty has broken through and led me to feel a deep sorrow for this sin because I KNOW it grieved him-yet all these years and He hasn’t forsaken me!! Hallelujah I am His-it is finished and I am clothed in His beauty so I can sorrowfully and confidently go to him and honestly tell him what is going on inside and ask for help and this I did. I had to control every penny and oh the things I thought we ‘had’ to have-but truly being generous is sacrifice. I have turned and repented resting in the Gospel-His beauty..and that it is all His.  There are many ways He is moving in this in our life, but one way is that He had us sponsor a Compassion child, Samuel, from Kenya-and it has been a joy indescribable to know God is working in this boy’s life to provide and to help this boy see His beauty too..and the joy in hearing how God is moving through Compassion in the newsletters we receive…His desire for the way things should be..that is who he is and I want to be like Him. HOW BIG IS OUR GOD?!?!? :))))) So He has turned my sorrow in this sin into joy..I can’t really express well how seeing Him move in other’s lives brings me joy. Yet I know I am not what I should be yet..there is so much more-so many deep dark waters inside He has yet to reveal and help me with.-areas I haven’t sown tears in Him yet-and so I need prayer that I would press on-and press into Him.

    1. Rebecca, this is beautiful, how He is changing your desires into His and how you are giving Him this area that you’ve struggled with and resting in the Gospel. And, for how He has turned your sorrow over this sin into joy in watching Him work in the lives of others!

    2. Rebecca, your post made me smile…thanks for sharing it.  “He has turned my sorrow in this sin into joy”…so very cool! 

  22. I had answered 3 A-C, but when I tried to submit my comments, a red box appeared that said I had triggered this site’s security system and it wouldn’t let me post. I read through my comments and didn’t see anything “bad”…I’ve never had that happen before!

    1. Susan, this happened to me last week.  At first I thought that perhaps I had too much text, so I split up the posts…the first part went but the second part again was rejected, I had quite a few scripture texts that I had used quotation marks around…I can’t remember if I changed them to italics or what, but I did some revision and it did end up posting.

    2. Susan, this happens to me periodically, too– not sure there is a consistent reason. When it happens with a long post and I haven’t written it in a Word or text document first, the next version is much shorter 😉

  23. Good Morning Ladies.    
    Tim Keller’s quote:   “For the believer, life holds deeper sorrow and deeper joy.”  
    When our 14 month old first born baby daughter died after open heart surgery, in the months/years following, I learned that the sorrow can carve a deeper place for joy somehow.   It has been 33 years and five more healthy children.  I prayed that God would not let it go to waste, because it all seemed like such a waste and so hopeless.    He has been faithful to bring value out of this great and tender loss.    I am so grateful that God has given me a heart to comfort others with the same comfort he has given me.   But, I think I still tend to dwell in the sorrow rather than the joy of life.   I cry about the pain of life way too much and don’t live up to the words on my bedroom wall that say, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  Its about learning to dance in the rain.”   
    I do love that our tears can be our honest prayers at times.   
    I recommend Praying the Psalms by Walter Brueggemann,  Sacred Sorrow by Michael Card, and Some Birds Sing in Winter by Thomas Harley.   
    Brueggemann talks about how the Psalms declare three ideas about our life of faith in walking with God:  1) being securely oriented  2) being painfully disoriented (lamentations)     3)  being surprisingly reoriented
    He says, “I suggest that most of the Psalms can only be appropriately prayed by people who are living at the edge of their lives, sensitive to the raw hurts, the primitive passions, and the naive elations that are at the bottom of our lives.   For most of us, liturgical or devotional entry into the Psalms requires a real change of pace.   It asks us to depart from the closely managed world of public survival, to move into the open, frightening, healing world of speech with the Holy One.”

    1. Nila, Thanks for the book recommendations.  I recently saw another recommendation online for Praying the Psalms.  May at least read the summaries  of these books.  I’m a little overwhelmed by stacks of books — and always interested in more 😉

  24. Nila…..THANKS for the recommendation for Brueggeman’s book.   Sounds exactly like what I’m looking for.  I like his writing and I have been wanting to dig deeper into the meaning of praying the psalms.  
     
    and a resounding ‘amen’ to this:

    I do love that our tears can be our honest prayers at times.   

  25. 3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:
    A. What praise do you find in these verses? “you lifted me out of the depths,” you “did not let my enemies gloat over me,” “I called to you for help and you healed me,” “you brought me up from the grave,” “you spared me from going down into the pit,” “his favor lasts a lifetime,”
     
    B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection? All of the answers to A describe a part of  both the crucifixion and resurection. I especially like v.5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime, weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
    His crucifixion was God’s wrath on Him, but rejoicing came afterwards. Because of this our favor with Him lasts a lifetime.
     
    C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.  If Christ had not gone through torture from enemies and endured the wrath of God “only a moment” then the morning would not have had rejoicing. If we are not sick, we cannot be healed. If we are not under attack from enemies, we cannot be rescued. Would it be better to endure and be rescued or to never endure and therefore never experience the joy of being rescued and having a precious gift?
     
    D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can. The preceeding verse is a clue, I think. Our outward selves are wasting away but our inner selves are being renewed.  Our struggles in this world (small in comparison to the glory in eternity) help produce an eternal glory “for us.” So as our struggles whittle away us, this allows Christ to transform, to build, to heal. I am reminded that when we break a bone the break actually becomes stronger than the original bone. Because the body heals with with “reinforcement,” extra bone matrix and calcium to restrengthen and act as a natural splint for the part that was weak enough to break. This is Christ in my heart. My struggles break my weak (all) places and then if I allow Him, He heals, rescues… as a result those parts are “stronger” through Him and His work. And I become less, He becomes more.
    I have been taught that we are given crowns in heaven. I think this applies here, but I do not understand it well enough to venture out in connecting the two.
     
    E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.
    O God, You are my God and I will ever praise You. I have been pressed, but not crushed, persecuted, but note abandoned, struck down, but not destroyed, because of Christ. Because of Your promise – the joy comes in the morning. God, these painful things are so hard, but I know and trust that You are in control. That you do not waste my suffering, indeed You use it for my good – to draw me close and refine me and lovingly build me up and show me Your unconditional love. You are all that matters! Thank you for the sorrow that You carried in and through Your Son and how You turned that into Your joy as well as my own! I am grateful. Keep my eyes on You, God, may I never forget, help my unbelief. Amen.

    1. Jill, At a quick glance, your answers look so good & clear that I am tempted to stop and say “me too.”  Oh, I do know the value of digging into these passages for myself, so I’m going to do it (kinda tired and brain dead this morning.  Praying that the Bible Study gives me a kick in the pants!).  So, I will read your answer AFTER I read the verses (aloud — aaaggghhh) and answer the questions.

      1. Ha, ha Renee…I read out loud this morning 🙂 in the past I would get the “you version” of the bible to read to me!

        1. Laura, Ha!  I’ve done that, too 😀

    2. Jill, such good responses.  Your response to C reminds me of a book I read decades ago, Strong at the Broken Places by Max Cleland.  He is a Vietnam vet who lost both legs and an arm, later became a Senator.  I just looked it up because I remember that there was a poem (or something) on the cover or maybe in the book:) that made a difference for me at the time I read it.

  26. 2. Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote…if so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.
    I agree with what Elizabeth wrote regarding deeper sorrow:
    “when we look beyond our own pain and see what it does to God’s heart … consider how it hurts Him and how far it is from His original plan.” 
    When I repent of an action or inaction, I grieve not only those I may have hurt, injured, or offended of this world, but even more so my hurt, injury, and offense (disobedience, disassociation, distrust, defiance) of God.  The sorrow is a deep heart sorrow, knowing/realizing that I have hurt the One who has continuous affection toward me, loves me incomprehensibly and unconditionally, sacrificed for my redemption…  The unbeliever may feel bad for hurting another, causing havoc, etc. but because they don’t acknowledge God, I don’t think they experience that deep heart sorrow in letting Him down. 
    Deeper joy:  I think gratitude in and to the Lord gives deeper joy…for example, when I look at the beauty and intricacy of a flower or the night sky, I marvel at God’s creativity, power, and might…my joy is deeply intertwined with gratitude to the Lord.  I think the unbeliever could and would still experience joy, but the believer’s relationship with and gratitude to the Lord can bring joy to a higher level. 
     
    As Renee mentioned, there is the question of capacity/potential and reality…
    I think believers have the capacity and potential for deeper sorrow and deeper joy, but as Renee said, that is not always the reality.

    1. Nanci–I really like how you put this “I have hurt the One who has continuous affection toward me, loves me incomprehensibly and unconditionally, sacrificed for my redemption…”–that brought tears to my eyes. Something about the continuous affection–you put so well how different, how perfect, His love is for us–and that is why it should grieve us to hurt Him.
      I also like what you said about gratitude leading to deeper joy. I think back to Ann Voskamp’s video–seeing all the beauty He has done “for us’, all around us–only a Believer can see that it is part of the love song of the Creator–and that song leads to joy in being so loved.

  27. Very cool.  Reading vs 1-5 aloud (and with some oomph) wasn’t so hard.  I have prayed these or similar verses before and the settings became vivid when I read them now.  I read them aloud a couple more times (a miracle?  first time it hasn’t been hard to read aloud in years) and it became easy to see Jesus in the Psalm.

    3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:
         A. What praise do you find in these verses?     Praise for what the Lord did for the Psalmist (and Jesus): 
    v. 1 the Lord has “drawn [him] up” (?)  and enemies didn’t win/didn’t get the last word in
       v. 2 God healed him (also implied that God heard his prayer)
       v. 3 God “restored [him] to life”
    vs. 4-5  Praise for who God is:  his holy name, temporary anger & lifetime favor (and the result or promise for us/psalmist/Jesus: “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
      
        B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?
    crucifixion: Jesus cried for help on the cross, that he was restored to life and went to Sheol implies that he died; weeping on the cross and darkness when Jesus was on the cross
    resurrection:  God drew him up, foes didn’t win, restored to life; Jesus appeared in resurrected form in the morning — a joyous occurence
     
        C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.  Without opposition, there wouldn’t be victory.  With sickness, there wouldn’t be healing.  Without death, there wouldn’t be restoration to life.  Without recognizing His anger, we wouldn’t be blessed with His favor.  All these sorrows are avenues for God to demonstrate (and for us to experience) his eternal love and compassion.
        D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.I LOVE this verse because of the HOPE.  The light & momentary trials are preparing us for the glory of eternity.  The difficulty of the trials can’t even be compared with the glory to come.   This is like an investment with a guaranteed gazillion percent interest rate.  The cost is minimal in the perspective of the benefits to come.   Yippee!  The best, most secure retirement plan possible. 
     
        E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.
    Thank you, LORD, for restoring me, for continuing to restore me, for healing, and for sparing my life.  You alone have the power to produce complete healing.  Thank you that when I am not “good enough” for my foes or when I think I am not “good enough,” I am “good enough” because of Jesus.  Thank you for the many ways you are restoring me now.  You know the challenges I face from inside and outside;  from a human perspective,  those challenges don’t always lead to good outcomes. 
     
    I don’t like some types of pain.  But I seek other types of pain to distract me from my deepest pain.  Help me to more quickly seek you instead instead of numbing or painful distractions.  Thank you that I have hope for blessings beyond measure, and that you are giving tastes of the restoration now.  Thank you that these challenges are light and momentary, such a small cost for the great blessings to come.  Forgive my tunnel vision;  I have mixed feelings about praying “bring on the pain.”  I see the importance of investing for eternal glory; but in my own strength, I can’t give more of myself, more of my “paycheck.”   God, grant me the strength, courage, and willingness to accept as much light and momentary affliction  as you desire  — I love you, trust you (but not enough), and want to honor you.  You have been SO faithful to me.  Constantly remind me of your constant faithfulness that I might trust you more, hear your voice, and follow your leading — whatever it takes (and help me not to change my mind and heart because I’ve regretted prayers like this is the past).  In my own strength, I can’t …   You are my strength and my song; be my strength and my vision.  For your glory, forever.
     

  28. 3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:
        A. What praise do you find in these verses?
     
    Each of the first three verses spell out a specific cause for praise.   Verse 1  indicates that David had been lifted from a low place, and that God had not allowed David’s enemies to gloat over his misfortune.   Verse 2 lists the basic reason for praise –“I called for help and you healed me.”  Verse 3  “O Lord, You brought me up from the grave, you spared me from going down into the pit.”      I consider this last one to be the most serious and relevant praise, as I think David is praising for salvation  (I believe the pit is synonymous with hell).    
     
        B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?
     
    I think what I posted above for verse 3 in “A” is relevant here as well.    It is by the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ that we are brought up from the grave and spared from the pit.   Also verse 5  says “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime.”    When Jesus took on the wrath of God due to our sins, it probably seemed like more than a “moment,” but it was a very short time compared with eternity.   Due to his resurrection, we are saved for eternity. 
     
    The commentary on verse 5 in my Life Application Study Bible says, “Like a shot given by a doctor, the discomfort of God’s anger lasts only a moment, but the good effects go on for a long time.   Let God’s anger be a sharp pain that warns you to turn from sin.”    
     
        C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.  
     
    David has experienced “the depths,”  fear that his “enemies would gloat,” and even had a close brush with “the grave’ (perhaps several times), and all of that made his sorrow turn to joy when the Lord rescued him.     
     
        D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
     
    “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”  
     
     The commentary in my Life Application Study Bible says  “Our troubles should not diminish our faith or disillusion us.   We should realize that there is a purpose in our suffering.   Problems and human limitations have several benefits:  (1) they remind us of Christ’s suffering for us; (2) they keep us from pride;  (3) they cause us to look beyond this brief life; (4) they prove our faith to others; and (5) they give God the opportunity to demonstrate his power.
     
        E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.
     
    O God,  my life would be total despair and futility if it were not for the knowledge of the salvation which Christ provided by his suffering and sorrow on the cross.     Thank  you for having a plan for our redemption and  for loving us enough to put your Son through all of that on our behalf.     It makes the difference between perpetual prison and everlasting freedom, betwen  the depths of sorrow and the heights of joy!   Alleluia! Alleluia!   
     

  29. 4. Read Psalm 30:6-12 aloud and then answer:
     
        A. At first I saw primarily David in these verses, but Patrick Reardon points out that in Gethsemane, Jesus did ask that he could be spared “this cup.” How might phrases from this passage illustrate that?     vs. 8-10  Verses 8-9 begin with “To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy: ‘“What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit?'”   This might parallel Jesus’ request that “if it is possible, let this cup pass away from me” (v. 8 pleading for mercy) as he anticipated his upcoming death and separation from his Father (v. 9 going down to the pit).
     
        B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?  
    What strikes me most about this question is that I don’t ask God to spare me from much.  I think I developed a habit and maybe even a fatalistic attitude after a couple long periods when I wasn’t spared.  When I think I need sparing, I ask others to pray but I haven’t always asked God directly.   And I’ve barely noticed all the times he has spared me.  🙁
     
    I have the hope that God will turn the mourning of sorrows here and now into the dancing of eternal joy, of celebration with Him (safety) forever BECAUSE Jesus was not spared the cup of torture, death, and separation from His Father. 
     
       
    C. Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them.  Thank you, God, that Jesus wasn’t spared the cup, that he gave his life, was separated from you so that I never have to be separated from You.  Thank you for sending your Spirit to guide us.  Remind me of your promises, help me to listen and to cling to your promises.  Please forgive me for my lack of trust and forgetting about you.  Please make yourself real to me when I wear the blinders of independence and remind me that you are always with me.

  30.     D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
    Paul refers to his afflictions….or our afflictions as ‘light and momentary’…..not what we always want to hear nor what it seems like when the load is painful and heavy…but in the ultimate picture of eternity, there is a glory that exceedingly and indescribably outweighs the trials of this life…..
     
        E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.      All day long, as I’ve thought about sorrow turning to joy, these lyrics from Andrae Crouch’s song ‘Take Me Back’  (circa 1974)  keep running through my head.  I realize that they are a prayer and this is part of my prayer today:
     
    I must confess,
    Lord I’ve been blessed
    But yet my soul’s not satisfied.

    Renew my faith, restore my joy

    And dry my weeping eyes.

    Lord……I have been abundantly blessed.  And it is all because you carried the ultimate sorrow.  You carried my sin and the pain of being abandoned and forsaken by your Father.  You, who knew no sin.  No wrong.  No disobedience.  You felt the complete wrath of God, your Holy Father so that I could be forgiven.  Your sorrow was turned to joy for the scripture records in Hebrews that you endured the cross despising the shame, for the joy set before you.  The joy of bringing back to your Father, his fallen and erring children.  I am blessed beyond measure to be one of your own.  
     
    Lord I confess that I’ve been blessed…    Yes, Lord.  You have blessed me with SO much in this life.  My family, my home, my friends, the comforts that come from your hand and greater still, the eternal joy of being in your presence.
     
     And yet my soul’s not satisfied…….how I fail you when I live in sadness and doubt.   When the light and momentary trials come upon me and I give in to worry, fear and turmoil.  Daily, I need my soul to be immersed in your peace and joy
     
     I need for you to:   renew my faith…..restore my joy.  And dry my weeping eyes.   
     
     
    You are the giver of life. You defeated death once and for all.  You have chosen me and adopted me as your child.  Restore to me the joy of my salvation.  Take me back.  Take me back, Dear Lord.  
     
    Let me sow my tears and know without doubt,  that you will turn them into joy.  Amen.

    1. wanda–your whole “E”–beautiful

      1. agreed!

  31. 4. Read Psalm 30:6-12 aloud and then answer:
        A. At first I saw primarily David in these verses, but Patrick Reardon points out that in Gethsemane, Jesus did ask that he could be spared “this cup.” How might phrases from this passage illustrate that?
    He cried for mercy (‘take this cup from me’) spare me from suffering.   This passage asks the question….’What gain is there in my destruction?  In my going down to the pit?   Jesus is asking for deliverance.  Pleading with God….why does my body need to be destroyed?  Why does my spirit need to die and face the final enemy?  (Yet, of course, we know that in spite of his anguish, Jesus submitted to his Father’s will and Isaiah records that he went ” as a lamb to the slaughter and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, he spoke not a word” )  He continues to ask ‘Oh Lord be merciful and be my help’
        B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?      (need to think more on this one)
        C. Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them.
    Lord I thank you for the promises that speak to my soul.  You have promised to never leave me. (Hebrews 13:5)   You have promised that you are my God and you will hold my right hand and help me. (Isaiah 41:13)   You have promised me fullness of joy in your presence. (Psalm 16:11) You have promised perfect peace for those who trust in you.  (Isaiah 26:3)  
     

  32. 3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:    A. What praise do you find in these verses?
    It’s interesting, once I listed out the praises, I see a progression. “You have drawn me up”-I love this phrase! I imagine being scooped up in Jesus’ arms. “You have healed me”-in His arms, He is the balm to every wound—amazing how wonderful that is!   As I am healed, “You have brought up my soul”, and He has “restored me to life”. So in response, I “Sing praises…and give thanks to His holy name”. And I remember His goodness–“His favor is for a lifetime”, and “Joy comes in the morning”   
     
    B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?
    Christ calls out to God, and God brings Him up from Hell. Death does not win. Christ is lifted up and restored to God’s right hand.
        C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
    Sorrow that leads us to cry out to God, allows us to experience His healing, His touch on our wounded places. This touch from Him in our darkest night, turns everything upside down. We see things a little bit different, not the whole picture, but we can begin to know we are not alone, He has us, He has “it”, and that glimmer of hope—for me, is the joy.
        D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
    Our trials and sorrow are preparing us for an “eternal weight of glory” beyond comparison. Going on to 2 Cor. 4:18  “as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”, when we fix our eyes on eternity, we can find joy in knowing we are being prepared, being made more like Him, for the day we will be face to face.
     
        E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.
    Gracious Father, because You drew Christ up and restored Him from the pit of Hell, You placed Him back on the Throne—I find my redemption through Christ, my Advocate. Thank You for Your far-reaching, merciful love—that includes me. Thank You that my sorrows will all be turned upside down, the sad made un-true, tears will be no more. Help me to live in the light of that hope and joy.

  33. 4. Read Psalm 30:6-12 aloud and then answer:    A. Especially v. 8,9 “To you, O Lord, I cry,and to the Lord I plead for mercy:  “What profit is there in my death,if I go down to the pit?…”   
    B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?
    I trust that He will use it for His purposes and for good, eternally—it will not be wasted. I trust that He is not angry with me or punishing me. I trust that He still sees me, He loves me, He is with me. I trust He has not forgotten me—and that He knows what He is doing, and it is for good.
     
        C. Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them.
     
    Father, I thank You for Your Word. I confess that if I did not have it, I might be more tempted to question why You allow certain things. I do struggle with that—not understanding Your ways. And I struggle with feeling so insignificant that my hurts don’t matter to You—maybe I am not doing enough for Your Kingdom to really matter. I feel weak and guilty with sin. But I trust Your Word. I know that regardless of my feelings, Your Word holds true. You cannot break Your promises. You promise You have remembered my sins no more. You promise to work all things together for the good of those who love You. You promise that You know the plans You have for me, and they are for good and not to harm me. You promise that You are preparing a room for me in eternity and nothing can ever separate me from Your love. Thank You Lord, for Your Word—help me to meditate on I, that I may never forget Your promises, and let them bring healing to my weary soul.

  34. D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
     
    For our “troubles” we receive eternal glory!
     
        E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.
     
    Dear Holy Father, thank you for caring enough about us to give your only son to take the sins of the world so we are able to be saved. I can’t imagine giving one of my children for others.  It makes me happy that You love me that much. I have the opportunity to be with You in heaven, if I choose to follow Your path. Amen.
     
    “I see you there hanging on a tree, you bled and then you died and then you rose again for me.” You’re Beautiful,  Phil Wickham. 

  35. I read through Ps 31 and the first part of the questions.  When I got to the following, I cried for Dee and Steve, as I heard the song in my mind:

    Verse 15 reminds me of a song Kathy Troccoli wrote that has always ministered to me. I remember Kathy singing this to Steve in our home during his illness — Steve in his chair, eyes closed. Him thanking her gently afterwards.

    Then I listened and cried more.  By the time I listened to the song the 3rd and 4th time while reading the lyrics, I was crying for myself.  I don’t lament well; I’m much better at trying to ignore pain, distract myself, or “do something,” unless or until the pain is almost unbearable.  “My life is in your hands” helped me to begin to lament, to soak in the knowledge that the Lord will be with me in my pain.  Though I’ve learned that — and lamented— before, it’s primarily been when the pain is extreme.  It’s so comforting to KNOW that He is with me in day to day difficulties and that I can lean into Him during the “average” pains that I block out.

    God and I had a discussion earlier today!  As He was showing me more bricks in my walls of self-protection, I was explaining to him why I wanted to keep some bricks 🙂  (really, it was quite a fun discussion & I had the last word then).  So much for me having the last word!  12 hours later and I am convinced — My life is in his hands, and having bricks between me and his hands isn’t very comfortable.  He could have whacked me over the head with the bricks, but once again He is wooing me so that I want to trust Him.  I’m looking forward to digging in deeper tomorrow.

    1. Renee, love your entire post here…your sensitivity to Dee and Steve’s pain, and then lamenting for your own pain. Love your humor in your last paragraph on your discussion with God…thankful he didn’t whack you but wooed you instead!

    2. Renee-this whole post–wow..what timing..what you shared is what I needed to hear for I struggle with the exact same thing-I don’t lament well either. I  tend to bend toward burying pain inside too for I have a lifetime of doing that since my dad divorced my mom and I grew up being criticized pretty severely so I built walls with ‘bricks’ and can easily default at not being able to accept love from others. All the criticism and pain growing up has caused me to have a large root of approval idol issues and walls built with thick bricks.  SO..I am starting to get teary eyed now..BUT He has come and like you He is wooing me closer in and setting me free..He is showing me His tenderness and it is as fierce as His shaking the wilderness! He is my love-the faithful lover of my soul and He approves of me 100%-nothing I do or don’t do changes that-and I get so frustrated with myself when I forget!  He had to break through a pretty tough wall in my heart when I came here on the blog 4 or 5 years ago. Yes I still can bend toward my idols and in putting bricks in the wall-and there are still some bricks there he will tear down and completely when we are face to face..but I can humbly and confidently say with you that when Paul said He will finish the work he has started in us-HE WILL. I so see this in you Renee-He has made your heart tender and you are responding to Him! 

      1. Rebecca, Thanks…so glad the post “fit.”  I’ve thought about many, oh maybe a zillion or at least 7 or 8, ways to respond to your reply.  The craziest was “oh good, if He is going to remove bricks when we are face to face, I can keep them now.”  Yes, HE WILL finish the work he has started. Though I see wisdom in his timing (he removes just enough bricks at a time so that I grow closer to him, but not enough to destroy me), I often feel SO SLOW.  Yet, when I think of ALL the specifics and the very limited picture I have of my life, I can clearly see that He is working out his purpose.  Life would have blown, for me and for others, up if I had “too much, too soon.”   That also gives me hope for others — God’s timing is best.  My impatience for change is based on a very limited perspective, whereas he who knows the big picture gently removes the layers to bring his design to completion(since I’ve been thinking about bricks, maybe I should think of layers as wallpaper rather than onions!!).

    3. Renee–as a fellow “wall builder” I so appreciate your heart here. I love this “He could have whacked me over the head with the bricks, but once again He is wooing me” I tend to build the walls with people, after a few too many hurts, the bricks start going up.  Its amazing timing to read your wisdom–something He’s been showing me more and more in the last few days. Brick walls get lonely. It is risky to take down even enough bricks for there to be a window–to see out and really see others, even scarier, for them to see “in”. Only by His grace can we learn to trust, and trust in Him to be our Protector–much better than bricks!

  36. What stands out to you from the above and why?
    He will remind us that our times are in his hand… because I’m impatient, and want the sorrow gone NOW! Also relates to my questioning last week regarding how directly God controls the suffering that comes our way.
    Do you agree with Keller’s opening quote that the believer experiences deeper sorrow and deeper joy? If so, explain a specific way you have seen that in your life.
    Our culture is always looking for a quick fix, and there is very little recognition that pain and sorrow can be necessary and meaningful. One example I see often is people looking for antidepressants to cure grief, when the only way past it is through it. Another example – I’ve been told by a young divorcee “I can’t cope. I need a man in my life”, as we discussed her latest disastrous relationship.
    If we can trust God through the pain, rather than looking for an escape route, he will bring us through and our relationship with him will be stronger than ever. Yes, our sorrow may be deeper but our joy will also be deeper.

    1. Kerryn, I will pray for your time this Friday night as you minister on the streets. It’s hard to remember that where you live, it’s winter, when it’s so hot and humid where I am! I do hope your throat feels better, too, and will pray about that. I like what you said here, “If we can trust God through the pain, rather than looking for an escape route, he will bring us through and our relationship with him will be stronger than ever. Yes, our sorrow may be deeper but our joy will also be deeper.” Those escape routes often seem so appealing; food, mindless distractions like television. Some are tempted to drugs and alcohol. Many of those escape routes bring disaster, even death. In the area where I live, in the last month there were 5 deaths from heroin overdoses. It is an epidemic.

  37. Could I request prayer please… I’m doing shift as a street chaplain this Friday night (a voluntary ministry). Please pray for God’s peace on our streets, for both chaplains and clients. Also, it’s rather chilly these nights and I’ve been keeping a throat infection at bay the last few days. Needing His healing and protection this week.

    1. Kerryn, I will be praying…for the seeds that will be planted and the potential blooms, for His peace and protection as you minister on the streets, and for your throat infection to heal.  Blessings to you and those you will minister to.

    2. Kerryn, Praying for your health, protection, and your outreach.  Good idea to have a chaplain on the streets!  

    3. praying for you Kerryn

    4. Will pray Kerryn.   What a selfless thing to reach out like this.  Friday night your time is during the early morning Friday… USA time?  generally speaking?  

      1. I’ll be starting my shift 11pm Friday night, which will be midday Friday by the timestamp on this website. We finish between 3 and 4 am Saturday morning, depending when people leave the nightclubs. Thanks for prayers – my throat is improving, and the weather forecast is promising. Some cloud (which will keep the temperature higher) but looks like the rain should clear by then.

        1. Thanks for those specifics, Kerryn.  Just wrote it down to remember.  Those are hard hours to be working……prayers for strength too.

  38. 3C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy.  Find it.
    The Lord provides restoration…(v. 2, “You healed me”; v. 3, “You restored me to life”; v. 5, “weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning”).  We miss the mark in so many ways (e.g., ingratitude, disobedience to the Lord), which initially can seem good and satisfying, but in reality is a death sentence.  Sin will make us pay…the truth will come and we will suffer.  Our Lord is merciful, when we repent, He will restore us, guide us on His path once again.
     
    I really like Jill’s answer to 3c…if Jesus had not suffered to provide for our redemption, we would be stuck in our sinful state with no hope.  It was through His death that we have life eternal.  And…to fully experience gratitude, it seems that we must experience lack…for example, we often take for granted our back until our back goes out of whack.  Oh the gratitude when our back heals…  (I speak from personal experience 🙂 )

  39. 3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:
     
    A. What praise do you find in these verses?
     
    God is praised for lifting David out of the depths and not letting his enemies triumph over him, for hearing and responding to his cries for help, for keeping him alive, for the fact that His anger is momentary but His love is lasting, and for restoring joy after times of sorrow.
     
    B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?
     
    Jesus could have said these words to His Father, “You lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.” Jesus’ enemies did gloat on the day He was crucified, thinking that they had finally put an end to Jesus and His upsetting the system. But God had the last word when He raised Jesus from the dead.
    Jesus cried out to the Father while on the Cross, and at that time, the Father turned away, but verse 2 says, “O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.” Ultimately, the battered and torn body of the Son was healed; the disciples and many others saw Jesus in His “new” resurrected body.
    “O Lord, you brought me up from the grave; you spared me from going down into the pit.” This speaks of the resurrection.
    When Jesus was on the Cross, all of God’s wrath was poured out on Him. Yet, there was a limit set on God’s wrath; it did not last forever. Once Jesus was finished paying for our sins, God’s wrath was satisfied. Verse 5, “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime.”

  40. C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
     
    This is the verse that speaks of sorrow being turned into joy: “Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Looking at this passage and seeing Jesus, one of the greatest sorrows that ever happened in history was the death of Jesus on a cross. Those who loved Him wept and mourned and must have felt like their whole lives had been turned upside down. But their sorrow was turned into joy when they saw Him again, raised from the dead; real, alive, walking and talking. The reality of the resurrection can bring us joy even in our sorrow because we know He is alive. I also see the misery and suffering that Jesus endured for us; the tears He shed for us, being turned into joy after He accomplished our rescue. His joy of knowing that now we can be with Him where He is. I believe that praising God is key in producing joy even in sorrow; I see the psalmist remembering here what God has done to help him in his trouble. So praise and thanking Him is key. But there is more. Sometimes the pain and the trouble don’t go away or can’t be fixed. I am thinking of Horatio Spafford, who wrote the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”. He lost four daughters all at once; they were gone. Yet when he stopped at the site of their being lost at sea, and pondered and then wrote those words, it is interesting to me that he wrote about his sin being taken care of. “Though Satan should buffet, though trials may come, let this blessed assurance control; that Christ hath regarded my helpless estate and has shed his own blood for my soul.” Another stanza describes how all of his sin, not just part of it, has been taken away and he bears it no more, and he praises God for this. Psalm 30:4 tells us to sing to the Lord and praise His holy name, because; on into verse 5, His anger lasts only a moment but his favor lasts a lifetime. It seems to me that Spafford understood this and was doing this very thing when he was inspired to write his hymn.

  41. I hope to see that others have chosen to ponder Jeremiah, as the weeping prophet can teahc us so much!  I can’t get away from Job though….who among us, no matter how deep the valley, cannot look at Job and say…”now THAT man understands!”?  The utter BEWILDERMENT that permeates our days as we walk in a daze.  The sense of ISOLATION when even our best comforters are saying “time to move on” or “buck up” or “she’s young, there will be another relationship for her”……and all we can think is: “did those words really just come out of your mouth???”.  I can relate to Job in Job 16:1-4….”miserable comforters are you all”(v.1) and, most often, ….”if you were in my place”(v.4).  Or how about when dear family members react as Job’s wife and say “Curse God and die”(2:9), when, in our sorrow, we yet testify “For I know that my Redeemer lives..”(19:25)?  How can our hearts not stir within us to read “though he slay me, I will hope in him”(13:15)?  Even when rattled to the core, when we feel we can’t take another step without ANSWERS…….why, why, why???
    AND THEN…..chapters 38-41……THE LORD speaks.  Of course we all know that the Lord does not answer Job’s questions…..or does He?  If these 4 chapters don’t knock us to our knees and begin to shatter our prideful hearts, what will??  THIS is our God.  And Job (and we) needs nothing more.  Job PRAYS for his “miserable comforters”…isn’t that beautiful?  No more justifying himself and lashing out at their folly (which the Lord speaks as their true condition)……he prays for them.  Because he has seen the Lord.  And He is enough.

  42. 3. Read Psalm 30:1-5 aloud and then answer:
        A. What praise do you find in these verses?
    God saved David from dying-he didn’t let David’s foes crush him. He heard David’s cry for help and healed him. God gave David life rather than death.David is praising and thanking God for His Holy name and that his anger is only for a moment but his favor is for a lifetime. Praising Him that weeping may last only a night but joy comes in the morning.
        B. In verses 1-5, how can you see Christ and both the crucifixion and resurrection?
    Jesus cried out to God on the cross for help-My God my God why have your forsaken me! I see that in verse 2 and the resurrection is all over the place! Jesus went into the depths of Hell and God drew Him out..Jesus triumphed over satan on the cross and also when he rose from the dead. Jesus had to endure separation from God -weeping for a night, but the resurrection–joy came in the morning. Because of Jesus resurrection our weeping may last for a night but OH Joy WILL come in the morning in part now but we have so much to look forward to.
     
    this is another crazy thought-off topic I don’t know..I was thinking..does it break my heart when intimacy with God is muffled-when I grieve him because I have run to an idol and our intimacy is hindered-is that sorrow upon sorrow for me over and above earthly sorrows? 
        C. In these verses you can also see how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
    If David wouldn’t have been chased by his enemies, if he wouldn’t have been on the brink of death-at the lowest of lows-he wouldn’t have hid in God..The joy is in how God was his hiding place. An intimate relationship-How God heard him came to Him and saved him from his enemies. I think it is interesting how David praises God for His holiness..for I think part of hiding in his presence is like isaaih said-woe is me, I am undone-i am a man of unclean lips..and we rest in who He is not what we can do cuz we can’t, and it is a wonderful place to be. David is rejoicing in God’s presence -His Holiness and His fierce and faithful love. 
        D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
    Our suffering gives us an opportunity to look at things unseen rather than seen and moves us to hide in Him and as we hide in him and see his beauty regardless of the sorrow we are enduring we find inexhaustible joy.
        E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.
    Lord God thank you that because Jesus was willing to suffer the greatest sorrows upon sorrows-NOT being able to hide in the shelter of your wings on the cross when you forsook him for me, experiencing hell for me..thank you that you turned Jesus sorrow into Joy when you raised him from the dead!! And therefore you can turn my sorrows into joy- I need you so..and am grateful you are my hiding place..That I can walk and talk with you because I am clothed in your righteousness-that you emptied yourself of glory so that you could call me beautiful and you give me inexhaustible mercy and Grace. Thank you for our sorrows-for my boys having autism because through that we are learning to hide in you and my boys are seeing you too. Being with you far surpasses striving for the approval of man for you are our approval and you are Holy and in control..no man can stand before you unless they are clothed in Jesus righteousness-what is man that I should hold him above you?? Thank you that the curtain was torn and the dead are raised! You are mighty and powerful above all and yet you have made me yours-wow! Help me to keep my gaze on you-to not turn my face from you today -I know I will but when I do quicken me and help me to hide in you-even in the good seasons to hide in you..help me and help my family to honor You above all and to desire your presence more than anything this world offers in Jesus Holy name I pray, amen.
     

  43. D. 2 Corinthians 4:17 gives another clue as to how sorrow can actually produce joy. Find it, if you can.
     
    This verse reminds us that our troubles are “light and momentary”. Sometimes they don’t seem that way to us, they are heavy and go on forever. They can even last our whole lives, but when we leave this life for eternity, we leave pain and sorrow behind. Compared to eternity, our sorrow is momentary. Then we are encouraged to focus on what lies ahead for us; an “eternal glory” that will make our troubles seem very small. We can look forward to an eternity without sorrow and only joy. The verse actually says that our troubles are “achieving” an eternal glory for us.
     
    E. Thank God for how He turned Christ’s sorrow into joy and what it also means for you.
     
    Lord, I know the Bible says that Jesus endured so much sorrow, suffering, and the shame of the Cross for the joy that was before Him. It is humbling to think that the Son of God sorrowed for me, and I cannot understand why I would be His joy. I have felt the pain of rejection, of not being wanted or sought-out for relationship. Yet You want me, just as I am. Help me to find my own joy in You, in knowing Your desire for me. Thank you for turning Jesus’ sorrow into joy, for loving us enough to send Jesus to rescue us.
     
     

  44. 4. Read Psalm 30:6-12 aloud and then answer:
        A. At first I saw primarily David in these verses, but Patrick Reardon points out that in Gethsemane, Jesus did ask that he could be spared “this cup.” How might phrases from this passage illustrate that?
    V8-10 To you, O Lord, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
    9  “What profit is there in my death,    if I go down to the pit?Will the dust praise you?    Will it tell of your faithfulness?10 Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me!    O Lord, be my helper!”
     B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?
    Having a child with a disability that causes him to be alone-that he is misunderstood at school because he is high functioning. That no one sits next to him at lunch. It is sad but if he were low functioning he would be shown more Grace at school. He often turns to food for comfort and gorges and hides it from us so he has developed a disorder, and we are helping him with that right now. He is so alone and it breaks my heart. I know that first of all God has given our son Himself so he is not truly alone, and God has given him us-strong support and love. Also in the future God will restore him. He won’t have Autism forever! 🙂
        C. Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them.
    God I deeply hurt for Isaac and I am fearful about his future often-will he be taken advantage of easily? Will he get trampled over by others? Will he be lonely as an adult? Will he be able to drive, to live on his own? Will this eating disorder cause him to be physically disabled? Will his comfort destroy him? My heart is heavy..but you are in control-YOU ARE BIGGER…You set the mountains in their place, you shake the wilderness, you cause the deer to calve and you hung on the cross taking Isaac’s lightening bolts so that he could have the rainbow. How can I not cling to you? Thank you that you died and rose from the dead so that you could make all things new-the earth, the heavens and us. You are in control of idols too-You will remove all of them from our lips when you come to restore the new heavens and new earth..you will crush Isaac’s comfort idol and you can even now crush it with your beauty. Help Isaac run to you-learn to hide in you and find his satisfaction in you. Help him to remember how you satisfied his soul in Psalms and help me to trust you with his future! Help me to hide in you too. You are our loving shepherd-in your name I pray, amen.

    1. Rebecca, you do carry such a heavy load, and I know it makes your heart very heavy, too. It’s so hard as a mom to watch our child suffer. I see you turning to Him in this, clinging and trusting that He is in control. Praying with you that you can trust in Him for Isaac’s future.

    2. Rebecca–I truly thank God Isaac has you and Patrick–loving Him with Christ-like love, he is so blessed–and I thank Him you have Isaac–a continual reminder of His faithfulness, trust that God carries him

    3. Rebecca, this post pains me because I know how you feel even down to the eating disorder. However, you are correct. God IS bigger. I have prayed for Sarah for years, wondering what God has in store  for her. I know he loves her, and I prayed solely for her just this morning So of the same things you mention in the post. I pray that she will meet someone who will actually care for her, love her, not take advantage of her. She tends to gravitate to not so nice people. she is often alone. It makes me very sad. I don’t think it bothers her though. She is seemingly able to live on her own, but there are troubles with that. I pray she can find a career where she can take care of herself. We have to just keep on having faith that God is in charge and knows best. He sees the larger picture. Love and kisses to you sister.

    4. Hugs Rebecca.  My heart aches for you.  My daughter has special physical needs….completely different than what you bear as a mom….but I understand at least a piece of that kind of pain.  Hurting for our children is so hard because we would give anything to be able to trade places.  I had a care free childhood…I wished so often when she was growing up that she wouldn’t have to go through so many hoops and hurdles just to live life everyday.  I wished that I could have her diseases so she didn’t have to carry them.  I guess that makes me understand in some tiny way, the depth of God’s parent heart for us.  Your words speak to me.  

  45. Rebecca.  My heart aches for you.  What a precious, precious mother you are to Isaac.  How BLESSED Isaac is in that, even with so many daily obstacles to overcome……and daily feeling so alone (oh I HATE that part)…..that his mom daily and faithfully carrieds him to the foot of the cross…..for there we find grace and mercy and oh so much more.  I think of a book entitled “When I Lay My Isaac Down” that I had occasion to read several years ago…..NO obvious connection to your Isaac’s life story……but that is what you are beautifully doing over and over again ……laying him down…..how old is Isaac?  May you walk today in awarenesss of the Lord’s unending faithfulness.  Thank you for sharing your heart.  I am praying this moment for Isaac.

    1. Jackie and Dee-you are His balm today..THANK. YOU..

      1. Rebecca, My heart breaks for you and for Isaac.  I’m praying that both of you will KNOW that God is with you every step of the way, during the hardest times, the “regular” challenging times, and during the easier times.  May both of you see signs of your sorrow turning to joy.   Hugs!

      2. Oh Rebecca…your sweet mother’s heart glows.  It is so difficult to see your child go through difficulties and hurts of life.  As Wanda said, a mother would sooner go through the pain herself than have it be inflicted on her child. Praying for you and Issac…grateful that the Lord is with you both.

  46. 4. Read Psalm 30:6-12 aloud and then answer:
    A. At first I saw primarily David in these verses, but Patrick Reardon points out that in Gethsemane, Jesus did ask that he could be spared “this cup.” How might phrases from this passage illustrate that? He cries for mercy, asking what gain could come of his destruction. Of course, with Christ the ultimate good came from His destruction.
     
    B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises? This all ties into our conversation from last week. God’s promise is that He will not, as Elizabeth put it so well, “waste our tears,” He will use our suffering for “gain.”  I also have the confident hope that He is my strength, my peace.  This means more (?) to me than the promise of using my suffering for good. I think of that picture of the gentleman standing in the doorway of the lighthouse while waves surge around Him. He is my peace in storms. To truly cling to Him is to have that anchor solid, to my doubting, idolatrous, turbulent core and His peace stills the storm inside me while it rages on outside. That I can take steps because He holds my hands, my feet. He pulls from the depths and lets me breathe, He makes my feet like hindsfeet. He is. Though the foundations of the world around me crumble, what can I do? He is on His throne, unchanged, still loving, still graceful, still powerful.
     
    Some of “my storms” are being concerned for loved ones going through storms who are believers but … struggle. Was it Wanda and Renee seeking to DO something for those suffering? Sometimes walking through a storm is walking with someone else in their storm – compassion: to suffer WITH someone.  Pondering how this applies.
     
    C. Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them. God, thank you for Your promises, for Your sovereignty in this world, and the next. For Your provision and strong hand in my life, especially in storms. For Your mercy in teaching me and guiding my heart even when I am ensconced in myself and my selfish desires, yet You come to me and whisper Your assurances to me – You are. And that is enough. God thank you for the sorrow You endured to give me the joy of having You. Thank You that You give purpose to my suffering, thank You that You do not forget me, or leave me to my idol ways, but woo me back and love me and heal me. Thank You for caring enough to mold and teach. God, give me guidance and and give me awareness to pause in my struggle to dwell in Your peace before reacting and remind me to rest in Your arms and not run crazy trying to control the picture perfect outcome. God, I am humbly grateful for Your hand in my life. Thank You, Amen.

    1. I have the picture of “the gentleman standing in the doorway of the lighthouse while waves surge around Him” as my wallpaper on my computer screens at work…what strength it provides…yes, a mighty fortress, refuge is our Lord…:)  

  47. 4. Read Psalm 30:6-12 aloud and then answer:
        A. At first I saw primarily David in these verses, but Patrick Reardon points out that in Gethsemane, Jesus did ask that he could be spared “this cup.” How might phrases from this passage illustrate that?
     
    I think the verses that sound most like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane would be verses 8 and 9a.   “To you, O Lord, I called;  to the Lord I cried for mercy:  “What gain is there in my destruction, in my going down into the pit?”  
     
        B. Think of something you asked the Lord to spare you from and He did not. Though you may not yet see the end of the story, what confident hope do you have because of God’s promises?
     
    I find answering this question rather difficult.   In the past there have been several times when I asked God to spare me, and he didn’t  (most of the time he did!)   I cried out bitterly  to the Lord in those times.     However, I came out on the other side of those crises, and looking back I can see purpose in my having those times.     In fact, sometimes it changed my life in a major way — for good.    However, at the present time I don’t seem to have a bunch of crises in which it is clear that God has chosen not to spare me.   Although it is not so personal, the struggles my church is going through might be regarded that way.   I had prayed that we might be able to rejuvenate located right where we are.    That has not happened.   We were rattling around with a small congregation in a large building.  So we had to sell our building to a charter school, and we are leasing room back from them.  Sometime in the next two years we will be forced to make a move.    I feel God is leading us  — although sometimes I wonder if we will have to spend 40 years in the wilderness before we get there!!    There is a meeting tonight to discuss the possibility of our sharing or merging with another small church.   The interesting thing is that when we first saw our problems, we approached this church, and they rejected the idea.  Now they are in trouble and they are coming to us.    It might be the solution — don’t know yet.    I only hold to Christ’s promise to be with us to the end.   
     

    1. Unfortunately I got interrupted at the end of the above post, so I didn’t get my prayer included.   I am  now replying to my own post, trying to get it all hooked up.   🙂  Hope I don’t mess up the system by doing that!
       
          C. Thank God for His promises in this situation and ask Him to help you cling to them and remember them.
       
      Dear God,  it is such a relief to know I can rely on you, especially when things beyond my control anyway!    Only you, dear God,  know where our congregation is really headed.   I would beg that you will help me to discern, understand, and accept your plans for us.   I take comfort in your word  that tells me that your love is everlasting, that you have good plans for us, and that you will be with us “even to the close of the age.”    Thank you for your constant reassurance and for your unswerving faithfulness.   Please keep us forever in the palm of your hand.   Amen.   

  48. I am just beginning your study with you as I move into retirement from thirty years of teaching.  Pray for me as I grieve the loss of friends, routines, and the joy I have had in the classroom.  More importantly, pray for me as I embrace God’s new mission for me. My husband and I serve a church in Florida (having been in ministry for 40+ years), but I do not want to fall into the trap of believing that my mission for God is only inside the church.  Pray that God opens the door for me explicitly giving me His direction.  

    1. Welcome, Sherry! Wow…you are going through a huge transition in your life right now. Praying that God will give you a vision and will open doors for you as He leads you in what He has prepared for you!

    2. Welcome, Sherry.  Congratulations on your retirement!  I’m praying that God will comfort you in your grief and lead you in the directions and opportunities he has for you.  What a challenging, yet exciting time.

  49. 5. Take either Job or Jeremiah, if you can, and describe their sorrows.  I was most curious about Jeremiah, because we’ve studied Job and I’ve recently been in a discussion about Job.  My curiousity must have been God’s prompting because — wow — so much.   Disclaimer:  I went to the renowned commentary called Wikipedia and a Jewish site, http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/464029/jewish/The-Prophet-Jeremiah.htm  The info seems credible, but giving only a couple hours to thinking about Jeremiah’s sorrow doesn’t do the topic justice — and I only have a hint or two of its implications for me (not sure I really want to know implications for me).

    Jeremiah’s sorrows:
    History of Israel and Judah (which is very sketchy in my brain):  The impact of historical grief and trauma would have influenced people in Judah.  Jeremiah likely would have experienced sorrow related to historical grief (whole body of lit available on that now), both from sorrow for his people, as well as impact on him personally.  I wonder if, because of centuries (?) of past oppression, most of the country would have lived with some constant grief and uncertainty?
    Personal grief:  death of King Josiah, as well as all the other typical grief people face.  King Josiah was a good king who had turned the nation (somewhat) away from idolatry, but the previous kings led the nation into spiritual depravity.  Jeremiah would have been sorrowful for the spiritual depravity and ingratitude of his people toward God for them out of Egypt.

    Impact of being a prophet:  Jeremiah was called to be about a year before King Josiah turned the nation toward repentance.  As a prophet of God, he knew both the degree of sin and impending consequences.  The phrase, anticipatory grief, might explain his sorrow for upcoming destruction.  However, Jeremiah also was aware how sin grieved God’s heart.  No wonder he was called the “weeping prophet.”
    Persecution.  Because Jeremiah brought an unpopular message and one which opposed the messages of others, Jeremiah was physically persecuted ridiculed, imprisoned, and had conflicts with false prophets.  It’s easy (for me, anyway) to gloss over the extreme pain, stress, and suffering experienced by “ancient” historical figures, especially prophets.  Jeremiah’s laments provide some, albeit limited, understanding of the extent of his sorrow.  I can’t imagine how bad it was; I do think I could get a better emotional grasp of Jeremiah’s sorrow than I have now.  But I get tired just thinking about how bad it was — it feels as if true “empathy mode” for Jeremiah might kill me off.

    1. agree with the ’empathy mode’ statement.  The reason it took a year for me to read the book recently…it it was just all too sad…and I had so many questions about God’s response to the backslidden people…..even though there are great discourses on the Messiah, restoration, new covenant.

    2. Thanks Renee. I really don’t know a lot about Jeremiah and took the easy way out with Job.