Sorrow and Sighing Will Flee

Good morning. Today is Wednesday, the fifteenth of December, 2021, the third Wednesday of Advent.

Peace of Christ be with you!

Day 23,288

Only ten more days until Christmas!

I woke up with allergies, this morning, so I’m feeling a bit stuffed up. It’s funny, because it didn’t start until about the time I got out of bed. A couple of sneezes, and my nose has been running like a sieve all morning. I’ve taken some Sudafed and DayQuil, though, so hopefully that will be settling down, soon. Fortunately, it is my Wednesday off work, so I don’t really have to go anywhere.

Other than a quick trip to an Amazon hub locker to pick up a Christmas gift that has been delivered..

Last night at the library was extra special. It was my shelving night, which I always enjoy, because it’s quiet and I’m pretty much alone, lost in the stacks of books (or DVDs, sometimes, but last night, it was all books). The extra special part happened around 7:00 PM. First, a little back story. A few weeks ago, the youth services manager (our library calls children “youth”) approached me and asked if I would like to participate in their monthly “story laboratory,” a thing where they start in the youth program room, but then go to different places in the library for a sort of “progressive storytime.”

When I interviewed for the library aide job, I had asked them if there would ever be opportunities for me to read to people. I was, initially, told no, that the part time aides didn’t really do that. However, Ms. Beverly remembered me asking that, and asked if I would like to participate in one of their Story Laboratory nights. I said yes, of course.

I didn’t know when it was coming, but thought it should be coming up. Well, it turned out, it was last night. Since I don’t work every day, she didn’t really have an opportunity to remind me, otherwise I would have dressed a little more “festively.” So what we did, last night, was several of us read portions of “The Night Before Christmas” from a pop-up book that was very cool. We had a small group of about four children and their mothers. I had so much fun! I got to read the bit where Santa calls out all the reindeer names.

Oh, and by the way . . . did you realize that its “Donder,” not “Donner??” I learned that last night. I made sure to enunciate that one clearly.

I also pointed briefly at my own beard when I got to the part about Santa’s beard being as white as snow, and said, “Just like mine!”

I have nothing on my agenda for today, other than the aforementioned trip to the Amazon hub locker. I’m planning to make chicken stir-fry for dinner tonight.


You Can Steal, by Daryl Madden

You can steal my happiness
But you can’t steal my joy

You can take my trust away
But faith you can’t destroy

You can take my job today
But not my purpose be

You can make me miserable
But God loves you and me

Even if it’s comes to death
And you kill my body

Still I know that I can rest
In life eternally

My words are bold and I will fail
Through struggles to endure

Let me dwell upon this truth
Gods’ faith in me secure

I like this one because it reminds me of some of my favorite things that Dallas Willard said. One is his definition of joy, as “a pervasive sense of well-being.” The other is his statement that, in God’s kingdom, “this world is a perfectly safe place for us to be.” Please check out Daryl’s other poems, at the link provided.

And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; 
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; 
they shall obtain gladness and joy, 
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. 
(Isaiah 51:11 ESV)
Sing for joy, O heavens,
 and exult, O earth; 
break forth, O mountains, 
into singing! 
For the LORD has comforted his people 
and will have compassion on his afflicted.
(Isaiah 49:13 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for my coffee
2. for everlasting joy, and the eventual absence of sorrow and sighing
3. that You can calm the storms
4. for Your forgiveness; help me to always forgive others as You have forgiven me
5. that, no matter what I am going through, You are with me, and will never leave me or forsake me

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
(Colossians 3:13 NIV)

Get rid of all bitterness, 
rage and anger, 
brawling and slander, 
along with every form of malice. 
Be kind and compassionate to one another, 
forgiving each other, 
just as in Christ God forgave you. 
(Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV)
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

(The Prayer of St. Francis)
When you pass through the waters, 
I will be with you; 
and through the rivers, 
they shall not overwhelm you; 
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, 
and the flame shall not consume you. 
(Isaiah 43:2 ESV)
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, 
"Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" 
that is, 
"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 
(Matthew 27:46 ESV)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 
As it is written, "For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 
nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
(Romans 8:35-39 ESV)

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



How beautiful on the mountains 
are the feet of the messenger bringing good news, 
Breaking the news that all's well, 
proclaiming good times, 
announcing salvation, 
telling Zion, 
"Your God reigns!" 
(Isaiah 52:7 MSG)

As I pause during this quiet moment, I am pondering the eternal presence of God in my life. I am reveling in the truth that, no matter what I am going through, He is with me.


You, LORD, showed favor to your land;
 you restored the fortunes of Jacob. 
You forgave the iniquity of your people 
and covered all their sins. 

I will listen to what God the LORD says; 
he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— 
but let them not turn to folly.
 Surely his salvation is near those who fear him, 
that his glory may dwell in our land. 

Love and faithfulness meet together; 
righteousness and peace kiss each other. 
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, 
and righteousness looks down from heaven. 
The LORD will indeed give what is good, 
and our land will yield its harvest. 
Righteousness goes before him 
and prepares the way for his steps. 
(Psalms 85:1-2, 8-13 NIV)


The desert and the parched land will be glad; 
the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. 
Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; 
it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. 
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, 
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; 
they will see the glory of the LORD, 
the splendor of our God. 

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened 
and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 
Then will the lame leap like a deer, 
and the mute tongue shout for joy. 
Water will gush forth in the wilderness 
and streams in the desert. 

And a highway will be there; 
it will be called the Way of Holiness; 
it will be for those who walk on that Way. 
They will enter Zion with singing; 
everlasting joy will crown their heads. 
Gladness and joy will overtake them,
 and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
(Isaiah 35:1-2, 5-6, 8A, 10B)


As I leisurely read these passages again, I look for words or ideas that stir within me. I linger over them, giving them my full attention (hopefully). As I look for potential questions for God, I pray my life to Him, enjoying and resting in His presence.

Father, I see, this morning, that more than once I have read the promise that “sorrow and sighing” will “flee away.” While I don’t feel especially sorrowful, this morning, nevertheless, these words bring me great comfort. It seems that there is always something to “sigh” about, in this life, and the promise that You are with us, with me, through all things, brings great comfort. To know that, one day, the response of sighing over things will no longer be necessary or even desires, is very sustaining. We seem to have had much to sigh about in the past couple of years.

But the truth remains that, in Your kingdom, this world is a perfectly safe place to be. The truth also remains that, in Your kingdom, things are far better than we could ever imagine. I take note of the fact that You never promise us that we will not pass through the waters; You do not promise us that we will not walk through the fire. You do promise Your presence and that, when we do walk through the fire, we will not be burned. You also promise us that there is nothing in all of creation that can separate us from Your love.

I will listen to what You say, Father. You promise peace to us, Your faithful servants. Your salvation is near to those of us who fear You, and You will give what is good. However, let us also be aware that not everything we desire is, in fact, “good.”

May we walk in that way of holiness, that we may enter Zion with singing, that gladness and joy may overtake us, and sorrow and sighing flee away. May all this come about through Your Son and by Your Spirit.

"Incarnate Lord,
why do we easily consider our bodies as shameful or something to get beyond,
when You're quite fond of them?
Forgive us for trying to be more spiritual than You are by denying our human earthiness.
Overtake us with joy that You have come physically to this world,
taking a face and sharing our flesh,
for truly begin our Immanuel,
'God with us.'


Blessed be the Lord, 
the God of Israel; 
he came and set his people free.
(Luke 1:68 MSG)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!