Wailing Into Dancing; Sackcloth Into Joy

Today is Friday, the thirtieth of January, 2021.

May the peace of God reign in your life, today.

Day 23,150

Twenty days until S’s birthday.

Today is the day. My last day of full-time employment. I expect many tears, throughout the day, as I say goodbye to some good friends. I had to say goodbye to two of them, yesterday, as they will not be at work today. For most of these, I will be able to have some contact, either through Facebook, or text messaging.

I won’t deny that I am going to feel a little bit lost after today, at least for maybe a week or so, depending on what happens on the part time job front. I’ve been unemployed before, but this is the first time in my adult life that it has been my own choice to do so. The last time I left a job voluntarily was over twenty-five years ago. Since then, I was terminated at one position, and, in the other, the company closed the location.

I am a little bit proud of the fact that, since my graduation from school, I have only worked four jobs. One of those lasted less than two years, so if you take that one out, my average stay at a job is over ten years. I am a reliable and loyal employee with a strong work ethic.

Okay, this is starting to look like a resume, so let’s move on.

I may have an opportunity to attend some events of the PWBA next week. That’s Professional Women’s Bowling Association. The ITRC (International Training and Research Center) will be hosting some tournament events next week, and that is located in the same building as the USBC (United States Bowling Congress) for whom my wife works. They have been told that they can attend any of the bowling squad sessions for free. C has inquired as to whether a family member can attend with them. If they say that this is okay, we are considering one or two of the sessions on Thursday afternoon/evening. Thursday at 8:00 PM is the final ladder elimination event of that tournament, and would be super fun to see in person.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Bring Me, by Daryl Madden

Bring me to this moment
The soul to be aware
To be fully present
Right now, and right here

Bring me to my senses
To taste and feel and see
Of the abundant ways
That God is blessing me

Bring me to be grateful
For nothing I deserve
Let joy fill my heart
A turn to go and serve

Bring me to be humble
With His gifts to share
Reflection of His love
Shining everywhere

We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you.
(Psalms 39:6-7 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the many blessings I have received, all of which I do not deserve;
2. that my only hope is You;
3. that You turn our wailing into dancing; and You replace the sackcloth of mourning and repentance with a garment of joy;
4. that You have given me eyes to see that things in Your Kingdom are far better than we could ever imagine;
5. that I am an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in Your great universe.

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

ORDINARY TIME – WEEK TEN – DAY SIX

INVITATION

Yahweh is faithful in all his words, and loving in all his deeds.
(Psalms 145:13 WEB)

I pause, briefly, to ponder the fact that Yahweh is, indeed, my only true hope in this world and in this life. Truly, although I can scarce count my blessings, due to the magnitude of them, I dare not place my hope in those blessings. My hope is in the Lord, who loves me with an everlasting love, and is faithful in all His words and works.

BIBLE SONG

A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple. Of David.

I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.

Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.
(Psalms 30:1-5, 11-12 NIV)

BIBLE READING

Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.
Sarah said, “God has brought me laughter, and everyone who hears about this will laugh with me.” And she added, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”
(Genesis 21:1-7 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I continue to be aware of God’s loving presence, this morning, I dwell in His peace. I pray for the Holy Spirit to draw me deeper and reveal something to me in these passages.

I can echo the psalmist, to some degree, as I do feel that the Lord has lifted me out of many depths, in my length of days. My life may not have been in quite the danger as David’s, at least never to my knowledge. As far as I know, I have never had a jealous king attempting to slay me. But my life has had some depths, and the Lord has lifted me from them all.

Therefore, along with David and all the saints, I can sing the praises of the Lord; I can praise His holy Name. He does turn our wailing into dancing; He removes the sackcloth (a garment that is reserved to indicate mourning and/or repentance) and clothes us with joy.

Joy is radiant, such an extreme opposite of the dullness of sackcloth (think of it as wearing a burlap feed bag). Joy, if you will remember, is the overwhelming pervasive sense of well-being. It is the truth that things in the kingdom of God are far better than you could ever imagine.

And they are.

All we have to do is have eyes to see.

Joy also comes from knowing that “we are unceasing spiritual beings with an eternal destiny in God’s great universe” (Dallas Willard).

And note, at the end of Psalm 30, the reason for turning our wailing into dancing and replacing our sackcloth with joy.

“that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.”

Father, I praise You for all of these things; that You turn our mourning into dancing and replace our sackcloth with joy. I pray that all of Your children would see, this morning, that they are clothed with joy. Give us all eyes to see that things in Your Kingdom are far, far better than our wildest dreams could imagine. Give us eyes to see the overwhelming pervasive sense of well-being that comes from knowing and trusting You. And show us that we are, indeed, unceasing spiritual beings with an eternal destiny in Your great universe!

Lord, please give us all a deep, deep gratitude for the cross and sacrifice of Jesus Christ. May You bring provision and sustenance to those who are suffering from poverty and injustice in today’s world. Give us all our daily bread, Father. And for those who suffer any kind of addiction, and for their supporters and caregivers, I pray a special blessing today. Give them grace, and have mercy on their souls. Draw them out of the pits of despair and addiction, Lord!

"Gracious Lord,
for many the gospel seems too good to be true.
When life looks so unforgettably bad,
how can I believe something so impossibly good?
I pray that you do what only you are able--
birth Christ's life in me through the work of your Holy Spirit.
Amen."

BLESSING

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says Yahweh, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope and a future.”
(Jeremiah 29:11 WEB)


Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
(Hebrews 4:13 NIV)

If we had forgotten the name of our God or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God discover this? For he knows the secrets of the heart.
(Psalms 44:20-21 ESV)

O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
(Psalms 69:5 ESV)

Father, I praise You that I am an open book to You.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.
(Jude 1:24-25 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.