Recently, one of my ongoing projects has been peeling back layers of personal, church, and world history in order to better comprehend this world’s fallenness. I felt a certain compulsion about it. I needed to feel sadness about the many insults to God’s purpose and His image in man. I needed to feel sorrow about ways that I participate in those insults.
On a recent Sunday evening, I hit pause on the project. I thought, “Enough of this for now. I’m not feeling the compulsion.”
Was I done with exploring sadness? I don’t think so. It was just a rest. My heart still has chambers of ungodly anger that must be flooded instead with compassion. Like the Pharisees who despised the Lord of the Sabbath, I look for fault with His followers. I treasure offense at His disciples’ trespasses. Like the Pharisees, I need to understand what this means: “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice” (see Matthew 12). Then, perhaps, I will not be so quick to condemn.
SO, WEEP SOME MORE
I had just finished writing this poem (and was pretty broken up by the process of writing it) when Susan came in and told me that an old friend — a GOOD and brilliant man — now has Alzheimer’s. My sadness turned to sobbing.
“Now rest, and weep,
And rest, and weep,
And rest, and weep
I can’t help but think that this season in the house of Sadness is what I should expect as a follower of Jesus. It’s on the path to becoming compassionate, like He is compassionate.
He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.Isaiah 53:3 ESV