Monday, March 12, 2012

Refusing Comfort

" soul refused to be comforted."  Psalm 77:2 (KJV)

Zachary was having a bad day.  He was tired from getting home late the night before, then having to be dragged out of bed early the next morning.  All three of us were exhausted, but it was hitting him the hardest.  Everything was troubling him, even the smallest things seemed magnified, and overall he was just miserable.

Kevin tried telling him things to cheer him up.  He tried making him laugh.  He tried helping him to look on the bright side and told him he could take a nap when we got back home.  Finally, in exasperation, he turned to me and said, "He just refuses to be comforted."  

I listened to what he said, and it reminded me of today's Scripture.  And even though Zachary's troubles seem small when compared to those with much larger and more serious problems, to him, they were huge, and he just didn't want to hear anything that would make him feel better.  Thankfully, his situation could be corrected and made right simply by a few hours of sleep and rest.  Unfortunately, most of life's problems are not so easily solved.

Have you ever been in a place where you just didn't want to be cheered up?  Like your heart was so heavy, there was nothing on earth that would make you feel better, and even if it could, you were in such a place of darkness, you refused to let the light even attempt to shine in?  Or maybe you didn't refuse, but you were so deeply depressed, you were powerless to take in comfort?

David was a man after God's own heart.  Yet, he encountered much trouble.  Granted, some of it was brought on by his own rebellion against God and taking his own way, but nevertheless, he had his share of anguish, sorrow, and difficulty.  It was because of one of these low points that he wrote these words, "In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted."  

In other words, no matter what anyone around him said or did, no matter how many efforts were made to alleviate his agony, even when he prayed and sought the Lord, there was something inside of him deep that could not accept comfort.  His condition was so bleak and dark that he had reached a point of being inconsolable.

We read about another man in the Bible who had reached this same place of darkness.  Joseph's brothers had become so consumed with jealousy that they had sold him to some foreign merchants, then taken the beautiful coat of many colors their father, Jacob, had made for him and dipped it in the blood of an animal to make their father think Joseph had been killed by a wild beast.  When they brought the coat back to Jacob and he saw it, Genesis 37:35 (KJV) says, "And all his sons and all his daughters rose up to comfort him; but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning. Thus his father wept for him."  

Jacob could see no hope.  Joseph was the apple of his eye, and life without him loomed over Jacob like a black, never-ending cloud.  He didn't want to hear his other sons and daughters saying things to try to make him feel better.  He felt like the rest of his days would be spent in sorrow and mourning and he would never see the the light again.  

In Jacob's case, there was a very happy ending several years later when he found that Joseph had not been killed at all, but he was alive!  How he must have rejoiced to hear that Joseph was a ruler in Egypt and he wanted to see him again.  Their reunion was one of great joy and thanksgiving to God for allowing all things to end well.

But, what about times when that is not the case?  What if there is no happy ending?  How about the times the prayers are said, the casket is lowered in plain view, and the dirt is shoveled on top?  What happens when the last papers are signed, the relationship is over, and you walk out of the courtroom...not side-by-side, but exiting through opposite doors...alone?  

What about the situations that don't end in jubilation and celebration?

When we reach such points of pain, there are deep recesses inside each one of our souls that enter depths of suffering that cannot be put into words.  And no matter who tries to talk to us and make us feel matter what they say or do, though it is much-appreciated, something inside us needs to grieve, needs to mourn, needs to walk through the stages of anguish.  There are places when the battle-wounded, heart-rent, tortured soul within us refuses to be comforted.  Where it can't stand the blinding light of solace.  Where it must withdraw and recoil into the darkest corner...and hide until the pain subsides.

David was there.  Jacob was there.  Perhaps, you have been there, too?  Possibly you are there now? 

 Sometimes, it just isn't time to be comforted.  Sometimes, you need to cry.  

Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven."  Verse 4 says, "A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance."  

If this is your time to weep, if this is your season to grieve, if your soul cannot bear the light of's okay, my friend.  It's okay.



Your feelings are valid.  They have value.  Don't be hard on yourself.  Feel what you need to feel.  There is a season for this designated by God.  Don't rush the process.

By the time we got back home, Zachary was completely beside himself.  He was so tired that his nerves gave way, and he cried...hard.  I knew he needed to.  So, before I tucked him for the nap he so desperately needed, I hugged him, and I let him cry.  I waited patiently, until he was completely done, and I cherished the moment when he was able to receive the comfort of my assurance that everything would be all right.

God does that.  He tenderly holds each and every one of us through the dark places.  He carries us when we are too weak to walk....or when the darkness hides a clear path in front of us.  He waits when we refuse to be comforted.  He waits because He understands the need to weep.  He remembers His Own point of anguish when He felt totally abandoned on the cross.  

He is our Lighthouse. And when we are completely ready...when our season of weeping has passed, He gently leads us back into the light.  

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