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Monday, November 07, 2011

When Mourning Clouds the Skies

When morning gilds the skies, 
My heart awaking cries, 
"May Jesus Christ be praised!" (1)

 Those lines from the old hymn paint a beautiful picture of a peaceful morning, with a golden sunrise. But what about the morning when the skies aren't gilded? The days when you wake up to disease symptoms that are no better--in fact, they're worse. Your teen is still rebelling. Your loved one who passed away is still gone. Your job is still being phased out. What about the days when we identify more with the song performed by the group "Casting Crowns"?

But once again, I say 'Amen' 
And it's still raining. (2)

What do we do with Bible verses like 1 Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything, give thanks," or Romans 8:28 "We know that all things work together for good"? Often, in our rush to claim those promises, we take them out of context. We forget--or never even discover--that Romans 8:29 goes on to talk about God using those "all things" to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus. We miss the reminder that one purpose of our suffering is a training ground where we learn how to comfort those who are suffering around us (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

So, on the days when I can't see "morning gilding the skies" because mourning is clouding my skies, I can still sing. What's in my repertoire? I can start with  

What a friend we have in Jesus 
All our sins and griefs to bear. (3)

Then, as I experience His comfort, I can reach out to those around me who are hurting, and sing

My deepest prayer, my highest goal, 
That I may be like Jesus (4)

And as I learn more and more how to lean on His faithfulness and trust in His love, I can begin to sing

Blessed be the Name of the Lord, 
Blessed be Your Name. 
Blessed be the Name of the Lord, 
Blessed be Your glorious Name. 
You give and take away, 
You give and take away, 
My heart will choose to say, 
"Lord, blessed be Your Name." (5)

Today, may praise fill your heart, even if morning doesn't gild your skies.

References:
1. When Morning Gilds the Skies - translator, Edward Caswall
2. Praise You in This Storm - Casting Crowns (Mark Hall)
3. What a Friend We Have in Jesus - Joseph Scriven
4. I Want to Be Like Jesus - Thomas Obediah Chisholm
5. Blessed Be Your Name - Matt Redman

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