The Upper Room devotional reflection for Thursday, December 30, 2021 comes to us from Kim Harms of Iowa.
1 I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. 2 LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. 3 You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. 4 Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. 5 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. 6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.” 7 LORD, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed. 8 To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: 9 “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? 10 Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my
help.” 11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, 12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever.
Psalm 30:1-12 NIV
Every once in a while, I’m overwhelmed by fears that my cancer will return. The fear often catches me off guard and leads me to despair. I don’t relish the sad days, but I know it’s okay to have them. On the hard days, however, I know that God still loves me. As I endure the melancholy and tears, I know the pain will eventually pass.
Recently, on the evening of a sad day, a group of my son’s friends came for dinner. They come every week and fill my house with laughter while they eat my mediocre cooking. My sadness almost caused me to cancel the gathering, but something happened as they all happily crammed around our dining table. My sadness lifted and was replaced with joy. Those boys will likely never know it, but God used their happiness to bring me peace. Much in life can bring deep sadness. But God is good and a giver of good things. Life itself is a gift. My sons are a gift. Their friends are a gift. My time on this earth is a gift – every sad second and every joy-filled moment.
I have experienced feelings that are similar to those Kim Harris describes. I haven’t suffered with cancer, but the pandemic and the illness I experienced when it first began sometimes leave me depressed and unfocused. But when I come to church or have time with friends or family, I find myself almost instantly feeling better. For me, it doesn’t have to be laughter, just friendship and community. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. talked about the Beloved Community, which Scripture calls the Kingdom of God. The healing that comes through the healing relationships are one of the many ways through which the Beloved Community makes God’s healing presence known to us.
Dear God, thank you that you are always with us – even in our deep sadness. Thank you for the beautiful way that you show up to bring us joy. Amen.
People overcome by Sadness
Thought for the Day:
Sadness will come, but God’s gift of joy will follow.