This verse caught me so off guard this morning... Don’t laugh, mourn?! Don’t have joy, instead be gloomy?!
I read this in the context of Ann Spangler’s Devotional Book, "Praying The Names of Jesus" as she focused on Jesus as our Friend. (You MUST get the book...INCREDIBLE!)
She wrote, “None of us will ever be attractive enough, good enough, or successful enough to warrant His friendship. Paradoxically, it is only by exposing the brokenness inside us that we can be admitted to this friendship.”
To know how true this is blows my mind! To think how I am on this side... the side where I can look back and give testimony to how true it is that the more I exposed my broken, ugly, awful heart, the bigger HIS LOVE and FRIENDSHIP became!
Love overtakes sin. No matter how great our sin is, HIS LOVE is greater.
Think about the characteristics we all want in a real friend:
Serious when need be
Not overly sensitive
A safe place to be completely real at all times
And yes, someone we can expose our mess to
All of that simply adds up to someone you completely trust. When you trust someone, you expose yourselves to them. Isn’t it interesting how some of us, who have that kind of friend, find it alright to expose our real thoughts and heart to a human who can do nothing for our eternal life, but we are scared to expose, a.k.a. trust, the One who has our eternal lives in the palm of His hands - literally?
As I think about the verse above, change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom... something in me clicked! It's when I finally let go of my fake laughter and false happiness, that had been drummed up by my own effort, and allowed myself to free-fall into what I really was; it was then that God could rebuild me, and fill up what I let empty out with HIS laughter and complete joy. A laughter and joy that is constant, real and sustainable.
Exposing myself to God simply displays my trust in Him. When I expose my true self and am honest with God, He can then trust me. I know, that sounds odd, but it has become critical in my friendship with God. Since I have become honest with my own sin, and have seen the greatness of HIS LOVE in spite of it, He now knows I won’t sit in judgement or shut down at the sight of someone else’s.
What can compare to being exposed to the depths of yourself, and then seeing the greatness and the realness of His unconditional love wash it all away!
Ecclesiastes 3:3b says, there is a time to tear down and a time to build up...
Perhaps it is time to tear down what is false, phony and not real, so that God can build up what is true, genuine and authentic in you.