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Online Bible Studies: Treasures of Darkness – Week 7

Welcome back!  You have made it through another week.  One marked by oil and choices and thankfulness and joy.  Thanks so much for hanging in for the more difficult moments.  The not-so-pretty ones.  And sticking with the vulnerability.

We talked this week about God changing sorrow into supernatural joy, if only we let Him.  If only we’re open to it.

I was speaking at a past Pursuit Community conference the year after Shawna died when I knew I had to share what I lovingly call “The Shawna Story”.

I didn’t want to.  At all.  I am not a girl that loves to cry – particularly in public.  Let alone while standing on stage in front of 250 women.  But His Spirit nudged.  And I couldn’t ignore it.

So I walked to the podium with a box of kleenex on hand.  And warned the poor women who are sympathy-criers to get ready.  Because I probably wouldn’t be able to get through the story without touching toes into the edge of the ugly cry.  And I stared talking.  About the blessedness of friendship and the holiness of praying your best friend into heaven.  And I shared the intimate details of those 18 months.  And the precious final 23 days.  Sharing more out of obedience than anything.  Because at that point?  I couldn’t see His glory in it.  If I’m being honest, I still struggle to see it sometimes.  And on that particular evening, just a couple of weeks before the first anniversary of her death, I had trouble tying it all up with a pretty red bow.  The kind that brings it all back around to His glory and His goodness that makes you leave a room full of fire and Spirit and life-changing-truths.

And with shared sniffles throughout the room, I spoke honestly.  I don’t know how to wrap this up, I said. But I do know that I miss her. And when we worship our God, we are also worshiping alongside the angels. So I’d like to end our time worshiping Him for the kind of glory that we cannot see. Knowing that she’ll join in with the host of heaven. Worshiping Him along with us.

And I hit the play button on the first of three songs. And quietly walked to the side of the stage. And collapsed in exhausted on the steps, leaning my back against the wall, and looked at the audience. And the Spirit of God filled that place in a way I had never seen. I watched women worship Him in a kind of Spirit I had never before experienced. One marked with joy. And the I-can’t-get-my-hands-high-enough-or-my-voice-loud-enough kind feeling.

And right there, in that moment? I started to recognize His glory in her story.

this week in review

Day One:

Has there been a time where praise and thankfulness has truly changed things for you?

Day Two:

Have you ever found yourself jealous over someone else’s list of thankfulness? Has this week enabled you to shift your perspective, if only the tiniest bit, on your own list of thanks?

Day Three:

How is God currently kneading your dough of faith? What kind of Isaiah 61 trades are you making in your current season of life?

Day Four:

Can you think of a time when God met you during a particular time of crying and turned it into supernatural joy?  It could be the frustrated tears following a fight with your spouse, or an argument with a family member. It could be the loss of loved one, or an unanswered prayer.  Describe that time in the comments below.

Day Five:

Have you ever felt rubbed-all-over with the oil-of-gladness?  Share your story below – I’d love to hear it!

a peek at next week

We’re transitioning out of Thankfulness & Joy and into Faith & Hope.  Because when health fails and life falls apart and our very souls are disquieted within us? Hope is our help. Hope is the victory. Hope is the salvation. Hope is the anchor of soul connecting us to the presence of the holiest God hidden inside the holiest of holy places. Hope is our surety. Hope is our steadfast.

This week’s nugget:

I have set the LORD always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices, my flesh will also rest in hope.
Psalm 16:8-9

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