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I have often wondered about sorrow and joy. Why does there seem to be so little joy, and so much sorrow? But then I remember one of my favorite poems by Kahlil Gibran, and I would like to share it with you:

Then a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.”

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

When I was younger I was so enamored with Kahlil Gibran, and I think it was because of his great sensitivity. I identified with many of his thoughts, and I knew that he must have suffered a great deal to be able to understand life so well, and write the things that he did. He was well acquainted with death, as his sister, Sultana, died of tuberculosis at 14, and the next year his brother, Bhutros, also died of tuberculosis, and his mother died of cancer.

Though many of his writings deal with Christianity, and condemn the corrupt practices of the Eastern churches and clergy of that day, he uses many spiritual terms in his writing and poetry, and his maternal grandfather was a Maronite Catholic priest. I commend him for exposing corruptness, for it is not a church or a minister that I serve, but only God. I have been hurt, and helped in church. Church is really not a building, it is a body of believers of Jesus. We are the church.

Somewhere along the way, as a Christian, I thought I had to give up his writings. And where I got that idea I don’t know. Perhaps because New Agers and other cult groups quote him also. But I have found peace with any misgivings I may have had about that, as the older I get, I find myself returning to his words that always speak peace and truth into my soul.

In the end, it is the human experience that unites us and draws us together. I can have my beliefs, and you can have yours, and still I can learn from you, and you, hopefully, from me as well. I believe our lives are a living testimony of the God we serve. I don’t need to preach to you–I need to live the Word. (But how often I fall short of that goal and desire. Still, I don’t stop trying.)

Since we sold our Christian coffeehouse, Crossroads, I have been at a loss as far as church goes. We had a Bible study there on Sunday evenings. A small group of people gathered, and I cooked and my husband and I led worship, and we taught. It was a wonderful group that loved each other dearly, prayed for each other, and actually saw quite a few healings. But the coffeehouse did not make enough money to even pay the expenses, and the rent was so high that we could not continue after 4 years. Our minister from a church we attended for many years–a Charismatic church (Spirit-filled) called Abundant Life, came to the coffeehouse and ordained Rob and I as ministers. It was so special, but shortly afterward we had to sell Crossroads. I have never yet found a church home that I thought “fit”, and my husband and daughter have attended another church, which was especially good for my daughter. Now she attends services in a movie theater, and my husband visited last Sunday, and likes it a lot. So at any rate, I’m not against church at all, but I have been hurt there, and I don’t like to “play” church. I want to see the Gifts of the Spirit in power, and I think the church should do what Jesus said we would do-free the captives, heal the sick, raise the dead. The power is there, but the church seems to fall into established procedures, and always regulates everything so tightly, that it is difficult for the Holy Spirit to move in power. I am looking for a church where He does have freedom. I live very close to the Brownsville Revival in Pensacola, and it was anointed (though even that ended in strife that was finally settled), and I LOVE to watch the Toronto Airport Revival from Canada.

I would love for us to have our own (unconventional) church or a Bible study again someday. It was so much fun to meet in a coffeehouse atmosphere, and be casual and comfortable. It is in my heart to teach, and I especially love to minister to women. Women can sometimes be so cruel to each other, and we need to be there for each other instead of hurting each other, as life is very difficult, and we really need each other.

I will not allow the things that hurt me in this life to make me bitter, because I can be of no use to anyone if I am bitter. I will always look for the good in people, and thank God for the ones who are faithful friends. We all let each other down at times–not one of us is perfect. It is love that makes the difference. Can we still walk in love? Even when we hurt so much we can hardly function? ( Okay, I’m trying.)

As the poem said the very things that have brought us sorrow, have also been our greatest joy. No one can really hurt us unless we care about them. If we didn’t care, it wouldn’t hurt. The people we love the most, often bring the greatest sorrow. But would we ever say that we are sorry that we have loved? I would not. There is nothing in my life (even the things that have brought me the greatest pain) that I would change. Because it is in those things that we grow, and we are changed into His likeness. And those are things that will make us more like Jesus, (or as hateful as the devil.) We have a choice to turn bitter, or as I said in my post yesterday, to release a sweeter fragrance when we are crushed.

No matter what the outcome of your honest efforts, don’t give up. When they say you’re finished, you’re just getting started. When they say you can’t, say, “Yes, I can.” When you want to fall into depression, put on the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness. God still has a plan for you, and He will bring it to pass. When others say it can’t be done, do it anyway… 

Please view other articles that I have written here:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/109497/lonnette_harrell.html

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