I find it too easy to add my woes to those spoken by another. How much easier, I tell myself, to add a word of praise about God’s goodness. Such a habit takes time to develop. How is it with you?
ETERNAL PERSPECTIVES by Sally Bair
I once saw a flock of at least 200 crows that flew across the road and lit in the tall trees nearby. Their continual, raucous caws dimmed all other sounds. So much for my quiet musing as I walked along the road.
As scavengers, crows have a specific purpose on this earth, but they do not have a good reputation. They’re infamous for stealing corn and for being incessantly noisy. In fact, this summer a smaller flock has been waking me up each morning. Crows are even the focus of the old saying, “What are you crowing about now?”
The noisiness of crows reminds me of a story in the Old Testament. Following the exile of the Israelites from Persia, they returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple. When the builders laid the foundation, the religious leaders led the people in thanksgiving to the Lord. Most of the people gave a great shout of praise. The older ones who had seen the former temple, however, “wept with a loud voice.”
Ezra 3:13 tells the story clearly. “… the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.” Talk about confusing cacophony! Like a big flock of crows, those who wailed nearly drowned out the voices of the joyous people.
In our own lives, even in our churches, the world may find it hard to distinguish the sounds of joy from those of us who complain or weep about the past. What kind of noise are we making? Do we grouse about the changes that have happened to us, forgetting that change can mean new opportunities? Do we become so stuck in our ruts of mediocre, unproductive or senseless living that we are too afraid to want to get out? Are we always looking over our shoulder at what we’ve left behind, and crying about it?
Those around us need to hear sounds of joy. The only way they’ll hear is through our own voices. Pity Parties are not fun to listen to. God forbid that we should attend them. Rather, we need to “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.” (Psalm 100: 1-2)
Lord, You’ve given us countless reasons to shout for joy. We want the world to hear our praises. Forgive us when we’ve cried over the past. Train our voices to sing joyfully. Fill our hearts with the joy that comes in knowing and serving You, our King. In Jesus’ name, Amen.