Friday, November 21, 2008

"Great Sorrow and Unceasing Anguish" and a Date With a Friend

This is an email I sent to a friend recently. We had met the previous
night, and I was not acting myself. Maybe it will be clear in the

I am speaking the truth in Christ--I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit--that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.

Paul wrote this to the church in Rome in chapter 9 verses 1-3.

"I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart." What a description of desperation, pain, and frustration in the deepest part of who Paul was, and he says this feeling is constant. Yesterday I believe my feelings matched what Paul felt. Though I do not claim to have the depth of brokennes he had for the lost, however, it is real and I was feeling it. Sometimes it is hard to remember that this is a real feeling. I will feel this way and somewhat forget that it is biblical. The feeling turns into discouragement because I think on my inadequacy to speak and live out the gospel. I think it is a good thing, perhaps a necessary thing, that I really feel the depth of my inadequacy, however, I must trust in the power and sovereignty and grace of God. That is what must follow days like yesterday. Thoughts that God is mighty to save. Meditating on the reality of the gracious, redeeming, sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Thoughts on God's kindness that leads us to repentance. Then putting that together with the truth that we are this God's people. He is with us. We have been raised with Him in His resurrection. We are alive in Christ. We are His ambassadors. We are His mouthpiece. We are His bride.

I had not gotten full circle with these thoughts so I was down and I acted like a fool. I tried to hold myself together when we met, but it did not work that well. Praise God for the work He is doing in my heart in giving me a longing to see my workplace and my family and other friends redeemed. However, I need your mercy on the kind of days like yesterday. I thank you for your love and patience, and may God continue to transform our hearts to be more like Jesus. Remember when He wept over Israel. His heart was broken for the lost, too, and then He saved you and me 2,000 years later. How amazing!?

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