Fires of Sorrow

fires of sorrow - oswald chambersIt’s an interesting thing, sorrow. It creeps up on you because of pain, physical loss, the wish of what might have been. And we stop and grieve. Or maybe we don’t.

But in that sorrow, there’s actually a sweetness, if we let there be. There’s a tender compassion that we receive from God when we slow down in the sorrow. There’s an understanding of His heart and a kinship that only comes when we nestle up close to his chest in the middle of sorrow. And there’s a revelation of our purpose and an ability to hold other people’s hands through their story of sorrow.


“My attitude as a saint to sorrow and difficulty is not to ask that they may be prevented, but to ask that I may preserve the self God created me to be through every fire of sorrow. … Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life. … Sin and sorrow and suffering ARE, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them. … The way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. You always know the man who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, you are certain you can go to him in trouble and find that he has ample leisure for you. … If you receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.” ~Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I’m in a season of deep sorrow. My mother is at the end of a losing battle with Alzheimers, and it’s tragic to watch. It’s been a 10-year battle. A chapter book that doesn’t seem to end. One where the pain just keeps getting stronger, and somehow there are more pages to ache through.

The pain is real. And the grief overwhelming at times.

But today a dear friend told me, “I want to go through pain like you do. There’s such a hope on your face and a trust in God that’s awesome.”

And so, I guess, the pain does produce a story, and my response to that story says something about God. And it shows something about how He is SO dependable and I can choose to lean into Him and trust that He’s got plans that I may not understand, but they’re good.

Today, if you’re in the middle of a deep sorrow, if you’re feeling like your drowning, or you’re questioning why sorrow IS — I hear you. I’m with you in it. This life can be SO hard. The pain can feel SO heavy. And I’m learning, through my sweet kids, that I need to sit in the melancholy of it far more often than I let myself. It’s good to be real with our emotions and entrust them to the God who is well-acquainted with suffering.

“What shall I say? Father, save me, from this hour? But for this cause I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.” (John 12:27-29)

That was Jesus’ prayer, and it’s mine too, “Father, glorify Your name.” Paul says it like this, “All this {suffering and pain} is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God (2 Cor 4:15).”  I want more and more people to know Christ, and if my pain helps to reach more and more people, then I want to weather it well.

What sorrow are you in the middle of that you need to let someone into it with you? And how can I be praying for you as you process through it?

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