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A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWith tornadoes cutting swaths of destruction across the US South and Midwest, families in Malaysia, China, and South Korea continue to mourn their lost; as many more in the Ukraine and Russia move to the edge of war… as our world moans… as we grieve our losses… and as our God groans with and for us. (Rom 8:22) (Rom 8:23) (Rom 8:26-27)

Yet with the breaking news comes a greater mystery. According to the spokesperson for Christ, the pains, loss, and destruction are meant somehow to showcase a hope that our present groans are the sounds of childbirth (Rom 8:22-25)

Even though, for now, we don’t even know how to pray for ourselves or for one another, the Spirit of God intercedes for us with groans that the Father understands (Rom 8:27-28).

We can’t yet see what all of this means for us— and for our world. But we can see the means—Christ, our God, and our Savior. He alone has given us reason—not just to ask—but to declare,  “If God is for us who can be against us.” (Rom 8:29-39),  (Ecc 3:1-4)

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36 Responses to “A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance”

  1. david14 says:

    There never seems to be a shortage of people to mourn, grieve and pray for, or with! There’s always something to remind me to count my blessings!!

  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Last evening a group of us who gather for Bible study and prayer were discussing just this: The refining fire that the Lord sends to heat up the crucible of our lives — even as it causes the impurities to float up and be burned or skimmed off — makes us praise and sing and dance for joy. (1 Peter 1:6, 7, 8, 9)

    It seems to me our prayers offered with tears and sorrow and confusion about the extent of the suffering, are used by God in ways that we do not understand. Prayers offered in faith rise to heaven as the smoke of incense. (Rev 5:8, 9, 10)


  3. SFDBWV says:

    I cannot speak for anyone except myself when it comes to the senses that rise up within me when I come before the Lord in prayer, and even as articulate as I try to be sometimes those feelings are difficult to transfer to paper.

    For certain the most direct and almost instantaneous obstacle to those feelings of awareness are the circumstances of life and what is seen and heard in this world.

    My son Matthew has very good logic and it is that logic that forces him to believe that God can’t be *for* him or *with* him given the circumstances of his life. Yet deep within him is that root of belief that causes him to be angry with God and feel abandoned, though as time goes by that logic makes him wonder if there is a God at all.

    Jesus spoke to us about the birth pangs of the world in reference to his return as triumphant King of King and Lord of Lords, the Minor Prophets give us detail of the world events in relation to Israel leading up to Christ’s return.

    As an amateur student of prophesy it is easy to see that the world is in a downward spiral which will lead to the return of Christ, and a combination of sorrow and gladness to see countries and cultures coming together in harmony with what men who spoke for God thousands of years ago seen and tried to transfer to paper.

    Why do we pray for the peace of Jerusalem? Is it to keep the coming destruction at bay or is it for the coming of its King?

    Believing that God is in control of all events and believing that the coming disasters that will increase worldwide are in part the birth pangs of His return, our prayers for the Will of God to be done should be offered in a mixture of anticipation and tears.

    Before the Greeks and Romans learned of God through the Gospel of Jesus they came to grips with the circumstances of life as being settled by *fate*, they having no true control over the outcomes of their lives.

    Is it really any different than *knowing* God to be orchestrating events in the world for His desired outcome?

    It is very tough to realize it is all about God and not about us, but we have to realize *that*, before we can be humble enough to ask God for anything concerning ourselves.

    It is vital to remember that in the midst of all the ugly that goes on in our lives as well as in the events in the news, *hope* is written everywhere in Scripture. Hope is seen in every circumstance of life and offered by the only One who can guarantee it.

    It is in that Hope by the One who offers it that we can have peace and rest in the midst of life and all its tragedies, even death.


  4. quietgrace says:

    Good morning all! Just yesterday when thinking of an acquaintance with some terrible life regrets and sorrows that are beyond her control I thought of giving her a small plaque with the words of Ecc. 3:1-4 written on it. One doesn’t always have to turn on the tv, internet, or radio to hear of all the suffering going on in the world; often just listening to one person’s suffering is enough to handle. Only God can and does handle all the suffering going on at once in the world. Through our prayers we can join in, and know that as Jeremiah 45:5 says, our lives are a gift from God, even though there is nothing but destruction all around. Our gift back to God is our love and prayers for all.
    Blessings, Grace

  5. poohpity says:

    Means- an action or system by which a result is brought about; a method which is Christ, our God, and our Savior prompts us to look beyond what we experience to see beyond the present suffering to the hope that one day there will be no more tears, pain or suffering. All the things that come with this life in this body that is bent on decay will pass away. (Rev 21:4 AMP)

    Yet while we are here it seems living with a passion for Christ and looking to Him we will have peace and comfort even when the turmoil around us persists. We were never promised a life without problems but we are promised that we have someone to go through it all with us. (Romans 8:15-19 NLT) It then seems to come down to how we handle these present troubles.

  6. bubbles says:

    The photos of the flowers is lovely.

  7. bubbles says:

    photo, not photos.

  8. poohpity says:

    How can one with all the passion that is within us know for sure that ““If God is for us who can be against us.””? To know that don’t we have to experience God in all areas of our lives? It seems by getting to know God out of a hunger and a desire to search and seek to know all we can about Him we come to that conclusion.

    I guess I will not ever understand how one can say that they are so grateful for Jesus and what He did yet not try and find out all they can about Him. The Pharisees and Sadducees seemed to preach so much “about” God they they did not even recognize Him as He stood within their mist, it seems they did not really know Him at all. I do not want when I stand before God for Him to say away from me I never knew you. In any relationship it takes for 2 people to get to know each other I know God knows me and I just want to make sure I know Him in return.

  9. blestsparrow says:

    Received this email today from a friend:

    Please Pray for Tornado Survivors- Tittle Family

    Help Arkansas Tornado Victims the Tittles.
    Yesterday, a tornado struck the Tittle family home, Rob, the dad, and Tori and Rebekah, two of their daughters, went to be with the Lord. Their home was completely destoyed and they lost everything. Four of the children also sustained broken bones, and their home was completely destroyed. Please join in prayer for Kerry and the kids.

    Rob Tittle was a co-worker with Family Life Magazine. FamilyLife staff has shared an outreach message about their tragic loss. Rob and two daughters were all killed Sunday night. You may listen to the message on Family Life Today web site. (God has his way in the whirlwind)

    The Church has establlished a relief fund:

    Bible Church of Little Rock
    19111 Cantrall Road
    Little Rock, AR 72223

    A Prayer for the Tittles and all tornado victims was posted on this w/site.

    Father God,
    Our hearts break with the headlines each day as we know what it’s like to be torn. May your grace and mercy fill in those jagged edges, and may your church rise to minister to each family suffering loss. We pray especially for Kerry Tittle and the surviving children. –please bring them strength and health. And in your perfect time—-
    recovery from the loss of Rob, Tori, and Bekah. But for now, Lord, hold them ever near and surround them with good people and effective help.

    In Christ name and Love, Amen
    Attn: Tittle Emergency Fund

  10. Artle says:

    29 And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. 30 And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders. Acts 11:29-30 NASB

  11. poohpity says:

    blest, so very sad to hear of this and every loss in the wake of this tornado. Will be praying for Kerry and their other 7 children. Thank you for bringing them to our attention.

  12. Artle says:

    It’s an amazing life of faith we have, not only guided by, but prayed for by the Spirit of God and not without the valleys that we may or may not survive, but we will never ever be alone.

    The valleys are there to help us learn who we are, and who we are is in Christ.

    Looking back through this chapter and further back in the book, it occurs to me that the letter to the Romans is “Living in Christ 101”.

  13. quietgrace says:

    What a beautiful thing when Paul states that nothing in all creation can come between us and the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:37-39

    I’m noticing especially the “our Lord” at the end. Is Jesus Lord of your life? If you can’t sense God’s love, maybe it’s time to ask Jesus to be Lord of your life, and to show you God’s love.

    ‘Just sayin’- not to anyone in particular, but to everyone in general who doesn’t proclaim Jesus as Lord but wants to know the most amazing love they will ever encounter. Blessings, Grace

  14. SFDBWV says:

    It has been well over twenty years ago now, but I remember vividly the day a lady showed up at my back door looking for burial information about her family.

    She has a sister and mother buried in our town’s cemetery and didn’t know where and was wanting to get a monument for them.

    Her story was that on Christmas day 1929 her mother and sister were killed in a house fire here in town, only she and her father escaped death. She, just a baby, and her father left here after the funeral and never returned.

    We were able to locate the burial plots for her mom and sister and she, as desired, had a monument erected to mark their graves.

    I retell this story to illustrate that in my experience everyone has a sad story, a heartache, and sadness in their lives.

    In our attempts to make sense of them we ultimately will always come up against a wall with two doors, each very like the other, but with one difference. One door leads to accepting things for what they are, filled with both regrets and a fond appreciation for any happiness along the way; the other door leads to regrets as well and also an appreciation for the good times amongst the bad, but offers an unseen glimmer of hope. Hope, that all the bad things as well as regrets will be turned into a joy we can only vaguely imagine. An end to our sad memories and a happiness never known before.

    Life is filled with choices, and the choices we are offered when disaster comes is either to look beyond them or stay stuck in them.


  15. Artle says:

    I have had the thought that both good and bad happen to teach us how to be and essentially further separate those who believe from those who do not. Where is it we see the greatest faith except during the greatest adversity? Adversity seems to produce more faith in a believer and more doubt in the non-believer (power is perfected in weakness 2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB).

    But having no adversity can lead to the idea we can get along just fine on our own, so in some respects, good times may require more faith than bad times, but even in this God has a plan (to keep me from exalting myself 2 Corinthians 12:7 NASB).

    Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:10 NASB

  16. quietgrace says:

    Good morning Steve and Artle, reading both of your posts made me smile this morning. Perspective is such an awesome gift! Praying that all who are going through deep suffering will catch a glimpse of the wonderful promises of a life worth living! Blessings, Grace

  17. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Prayers going up for Kerry and her children this morning. (Philippians 4:12, 13)

    Flight into SoCal was delayed because of smoke from the Rancho Cucamonga forest fire yesterday. Such an array of responses and reactions from the passengers! It was a fairly light “affliction” that came about because of safety precautions for us.

    It seems to me, facing what is in front of us is possible because we have in us the hope of glory. (Col 1:27)


  18. poohpity says:

    It seems no matter how much trust we have in God when we face grief from any kind of loss we need to mourn the loss. When we deny emotions it seems to cause hardening of the heart and not asking for the help we need to get through them. Hopefully we go to Jesus who is very familiar with suffering, grief and loss so we know His compassion fails not cause He has been there done that and understands that is why we have Him as our High Priest. When we have been through those experiences we also are very aware that at times just our presence, a listening ear and a warm hug is the best gift we can give. Flowers always helps too! :-)

  19. poohpity says:

    A time to mourn! Mourn with those who mourn, weep with those who weep.

  20. quietgrace says:

    Mourning goes through stages, i.e. Kubler-Ross stages of grief. We are human and all go through these stages, hopefully, and not get stuck in one of them as you mentioned Pooh. The promise of hope that we have as Christians is that our suffering is not in vain, but will bring glory to God. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all… I wonder if our mourning, (having the helper of the Holy Spirit within us) who prays for us with groans and utterances when we are too overwhelmed by our circumstances of grief to even pray for ourselves, if it shortens the process, or eliminates any of the stages?
    We have a place to take or focus our grief, a place the world can not relate to, they suffer more than we do when it comes to loss, grief, and any form of life’s tough road, we are yoked to the Lord, who carries us when we can’t carry ourselves, who lights the darkest path, calms the longest night, and protects us from hopelessness.
    The world does not have this shared Divine Presence with Our Lord, and they suffer more for not having it as part of their life.
    Even more blessed are those who are in relationship with Christ, for they will be comforted greatly by the Spirit that lives within them.

  22. bubbles says:

    Christians are still human. I am not sure if any stages of grief could be eliminated because of the Holy Spirit. As Christians we have HOPE and PEACE in the midst of grief, and that is a great comfort.

  23. poohpity says:

    I guess when we trust Christ it stops us from being human. No more emotions. I must be in plenty of trouble because I still feel, embracing the beauty of God’s creation in humanity mind, heart and soul.

  24. quietgrace says:

    Gary I have known Christians and non-Christians who have gotten stuck in their grieving process. I think when that happens the Holy Spirit provides help that non-believers don’t have access to, but the Spirit can be quenched quite readily if we choose.

  25. quietgrace says:

    At the same time, I do not see where someone with say a cut finger feels less pain because they have the Holy Spirit in them. I could be wrong? But I don’t think so! LOL!

  26. Artle says:

    Does the aspirin not work or would the pain be worse without it?

    Everything is better with Jesus. No Jesus means no hope. No hope means anguish and anguish means everything hurts, both body and soul.

    We hurt for reasons others do not, but only for a time.

  27. Artle says:

    Everything is relative, and not relative to the amount of faith one has but to the amount of Grace they need. Faith just opens the door so Grace can provide the Power of God focused on whatever injury, be it physical, emotional or spiritual. Size of the injury does not matter since the supply of Grace and Power is unlimited.

    See, even faith is not about us. Think size of a mustard seed.

  28. SFDBWV says:

    I have a cousin who has always been very standoffish when it came to being “Christian”. She has erroneously viewed Christians as white elitists who look down on everyone else and force Christianity upon all other ethnic groups. The lifelong witness of her mother and mildly retarded sister as Christians and their church has very slowly brought her to the point of attending their church now as well as all the activities. She is a hard sell, but beginning to weaken. She was poisoned early in her life by the intellectual acceptance of the world view of the Bible and religion as a whole while an impressionable young girl in college.

    Discussing Christianity with her is like playing tennis, as the ball goes back and forth across the net with ever increasing veracity trying to score and win.

    She has one maneuver that she ultimately uses, saying that being Christian has no value while living here and now upon the earth that the only value seems to be to die and go off to heaven.

    An Irish wake is a famously representation of celebrating death as a welcome relief to life.

    We are constantly told that we don’t belong in the world and are only travelers in it. Many, including some here have stated we should hold no allegiance to any country or flag; a citizen of Heaven only, not of earth.

    Given that view of life, living amidst all the troubles, heartaches and pains of life is the time to mourn. So when is it time to dance?

    Jesus healed every person who came or was brought to Him from every circumstance, even death.

    To believe in Jesus is to believe that while here in this world no matter the circumstances we find ourselves in, there is *hope*, hope in Jesus that we can be healed restored and made whole, that we can have victory over any disaster and in the midst of the worst we can imagine we can *dance* the dance of victory and not let circumstances defeat us.

    “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 KJ


  29. oneg2dblu says:

    I’m afraid we all know Christians who suffer, and yes when we cut ourselves it hurts, but that type of pain was not what I was refering to.
    I’m speaking about the empty, lonely, guilty feelings, and those who are afraid of death because they do not have the Holy Spirit within them.
    I guess if knowing Jesus Christ as your Personal Savior has absolutely no affect on your mental state regardless of all outer worldly circumstance something is wrong in your relationship with Him.
    As Steve has posted, He gives us a peace that the world connot understand.
    I guess I was trying to say the same thing, using my own experience and words as a witness and with the power I have had supplied, granted, been graced to know, that I know, that only He provides.
    I have had spontaneous healings that I attributed to God’s Presence working in my life.
    I have gone through grieving as well, many times, and know its pain and also know that God helped me through it, every time.
    I would not ever want to go through my last 23 years again without that Holy Spirit providing for my every healing moment, He is my most valued possession as knowing I am not going through anything alone, or without His Help, is a great comfort.
    Others may seek their emotional peace or solace in remaining constantly numb, through drugs, booze, denial, abusing others, revenge, and all the other trappings of this world, but I prefer to go where the Holy Spirit takes me, He gives me the feet of a deer, He allows me to climb on the hieghts.
    Has He failed those Christians who seek worldly programs of grief share, therapy, counseling, prescribed medication, or physical therapy for their healing?
    But to me, they would all work much better with Him, then without Him.
    The Faith Scrpit that God writes on the hearts of those that are blessed to know Him, is the greatest healer I have ever known.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  30. quietgrace says:

    Gary, “All the empty, lonely, guilty feelings and fear of death” do happen even with Spirit filled believers, the difference being that in those moments Jesus is right there with us, if we look at Him. And even when we do look at Him, those feelings return, in my experience, which gives me another opportunity to look at Him for comfort. It’s not a one-time thing as emotions do not disappear once solace is sought. But He does go with us in our roller-coaster of feelings.

    I also know that God uses therapy and medications to support those with psychological/physical problems. If we have a flat tire do we sit and ask God to fix it? Yes we can, but, we do better to call someone trained to fix it. And, we thank God for sending someone to help. This is my opinion on drugs and therapy for wounded Christians and non-Christians. Can they be abused? Yes of course, but meanwhile we do not shoot the wounded, do we? I thank God for how He has been your solace and support through the years, Gary. He has been mine too, while using prescription drugs, and therapy with trained, licensed therapists.

    I think we are on the same page, just differences in understanding the role emotions play as far as male/female and for those with deeper issues. But our God is the same God, and He does comfort the broken-hearted, every time we bring our broken hearts to him, no matter how many times or days/years we need to.

    In Christs love, Grace

  31. poohpity says:

    There were people who were not healed for instance when Jesus came to the pool at Bethesda there were multitudes of sick there but only one received healing. Sometimes people are not healed in this life but yet have a very close relationship to God mostly cause just knowing God is enough. At the time when Jesus walked the earth He seemed to concentrate on getting His disciples to fully understand who He is. The religious people demanded more miracles and signs than was already shown them but we have all the miracles and signs in the Bible, does that mean we never ask for healing, no, but it does mean that if we are not healed we lose our faith sometimes that does happen more times than not. People seemed to come to Jesus for what He could do for them not because of who He is.

    Programs like grief share, therapy, counseling, etc. are not necessarily worldly since seeking help from those who are gifted in those areas seems to be God’s hand reaching through human flesh. The bible says there is much help in many counselors and they are a reflection of the Mighty Counselor.

    Our faith seems to say our forever home is in heaven we are just sojourners while here but the Bible also teaches that we need to be good citizens no matter what country we find ourselves in.

    Gary, good word and I would also add that you are a prized possession of the Holy Spirit sealed for doing good things. :-)

    It seems while experiencing emotions we are not to be ruled or consumed by them that would be the place of Holy Spirit.

    I think what separates us from non-believers is first we believe there is a God and second we go after Him and give Him first place in our lives. The are several other major differences as we do not react to the world but act according to what has taken first place in our lives that shows who we belong to.

  32. oneg2dblu says:

    To me, the Presence of the Holy Spirit in my life is by faith, acting like a Divine Placebo Effect, having all the evidence of its presence found in this place of Peace beyond all Understanding, and that, the worldly do not have.
    Plus, we have the Word of God living in us, and that for me, gives us all way out when we are tempted to sin, because there is nothing that will tempt us beyond what we can bear if we believe in Who gave us that Word, and in what that word says.
    We no longer have to say, Yes, to temptation and sin, when we walk in the Spirit that keeps us.
    Can we choose to sin? Of course, because our free will is never taken from us.
    Choose to sin, choose to suffer… and yes, we do also suffer for Following Christ in this darkening world.
    Buty, we are a slave to whomever, or whichever one we choose to obey or serve.
    That is the truth and it is scrpitural.

  33. oneg2dblu says:

    We can not serve to Masters…according to Christ.

  34. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… very true not all were healed at the pool, but I beleive anyone who came to Him in faith and had asked Christ for a healing, also found that He is willing, and they were healed.
    God is still in the healing business today, but we know that if it is His Will not to provide that healing, that He has a grreater purpose for a reason we may not be able to understand in our flesh.
    By faith we must walk, for many times by sight alone, we stumble.

  35. Artle says:

    We are all unique. Each person has their own capabilities, limits and thresholds.

    We can relate something like a color, a smell or a physical pain to each other and know we are talking about the same physical sensation, but emotional sensation cannot be compared the same way. One person’s minor injury could be another’s tragedy. A person with a stronger natural pain threshold (physical, emotional or spiritual) does not need as much Grace and weaker needs more, but each in Christ receives the sufficient amount. But it is not just about getting thru until the morning light. It is much about learning about Christ, and in a very small way, walking in His footsteps and carrying His cross (suffering for others).

    Perhaps the biggest difference between belief and non-belief is the quality of the learning opportunity of all our circumstances.

  36. quietgrace says:

    Artle I like what you say about the differences in suffering but that in the end, it’s all about walking in His footsteps and carrying His cross (suffering for others). That, I believe, is where the rubber meets the road in how we live out our faith.
    Thank you for your post and blessings to you. Grace

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