This week at Redeemer Church we began a study in the book of Joel. In the first chapter we find passages like this:
Weep like a bride dressed in black,
mourning the death of her husband.
For there is no grain or wine
to offer at the Temple of the Lord.
So the priests are in mourning.
The ministers of the Lord are weeping.
The fields are ruined,
the land is stripped bare.
The grain is destroyed,
the grapes have shriveled,
and the olive oil is gone.1
And I am reminded of what sin does to our souls and to our world. Here in this passage I hear the haunting echo of a aching heart longing for the life of Eden. We were meant for Eden, but sin sent a jagged crack through paradise and the shattering of the good and the beautiful continues to send us spiraling toward any device to numb the ache inside. We were meant for unity without strife in relationship, we were meant for the bounty of the Lord’s vast garden, we were meant for adventure and purpose without the futile go-nowhere-harvestless-grind. But what was meant to be is now shadowed by sin.
As we continue our study of the book of Joel over the next few weeks at Redeemer Church, we will be invited into an honest look at the depths of the anguish and ache sin has scarred our lives with.
I personally am tempted to skim the surface in this kind of stuff, to hear it, read it, file it and not pause long enough to let the full weight of the pain of it surface until I actually feel it. But skimming the surface like this won’t do us any good. We have to allow ourselves to feel the full impact of the passage, the full impact of our own depravity, the full impact of our heart’s own unfulfilled desire. We have to be willing to honestly say “this is not the way life is supposed to be”. Because only in acknowledging this ache for Eden placed in our hearts even as we live in the shadowlands of sin can we be awakened to our hunger for the One who can and does and will restore us back to the people we were meant to be. Only in the courage to allow ourselves to feel the stinging black texture of disappointment’s aching abyss can we find the compulsion to turn our hearts and our minds fully toward God with fierce and dedicated devotion. He is our only hope.
We need him.
We must come to this realization. And glory to God, because of the work of Christ who reconciles all things,2 we can approach with boldness3 even as the residue of sin’s disappointment clings to our lives. We must allow for the daily honesty that turns our hearts again to God for our daily portion, and we must have strength to maintain hope that all we long for is on its way. The consummation of the Kingdom is coming, but we must wait with patient endurance, letting the space between what we are and what we long to be push back the horizon’s of our hope,4 trusting that God WILL complete the work he began in us.5
And in this hope we live and move and have our being in Him, beginning, ending, and living each day with the words, “To you, O LORD, I call,” abiding on our lips, sometimes released in a cry of desperation, and ever increasingly in the whispered hum of our every breath.
Article by Makaila Mobley
- Joel 1:8-10 NLT
- Colossians 1:20
- 2 Corinthians 3:12
- “Disturb us Lord” Sir Francis Drake -1577
- Philippians 1:6