Monday, November 21, 2011

"Somewhere we know that without silence words lose their meaning, that without listening speaking no longer heals, that without distance closeness cannot cure."
~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

Without the depths of the Valley of Loss, the Heights of Joy are not quite as invigorating as they could be. Without making room for stillness even the sound of a symphony becomes a cacophony blotting out clear thoughts.

Are we willing to walk through the Valley of the Shadow in order to know joy more fully? Do we practise silence by turning off the car stereo, or going for long walks without headphones or a cell phone? Do we thank God for the physical distance between us and our loved ones? Without that space the sweetness and gladness of seeing a long-missed friend or family member is dulled, sometimes into contempt. Do we welcome Sorrow, Suffering, and Grief as tutors to bring us to Joy and Hope and Revival?

Often paradoxes like these arrive in our lives; at first we see only trial, hurt, and brokenness. However, if we allow hard things to be our schoolmasters, we may learn from them and be strengthened by them. This often requires altering the paradigm of our perspective. Sometimes this change can be done manually, but other times it is only by asking God to open our eyes to His perspective that we can see redemption in hurtful and hard things.
"...pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
~ C.S. Lewis

Pain, Sorrow, and Suffering are not God's optimum way of obtaining our attention; yet He uses even these things for our good. He refines us, shapes us through hard things. We find indeed that hardships, distances, silence*, and ugliness help us to appreciate the Good, True, and Beautiful.

~ Johanna

*Silence is not a punishment, or a bad thing. It is actually a spiritual discipline. However, silence is needed to gain perspective on hard things.

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