Over the weekend, I finished reading the book of Ezra.
Ezra is not a book I often read, I must admit.
Yet sometimes a book will contain words that hook and tether your heart.
It amazes me how a book detailing a people released from exile
and attempting to rebuild the temple destroyed by their captors
could relate to me in 2014.
But it does.
In Ezra 3, the foundation of the temple has been completed.
This section resonated with me last week:
10 When the builders had laid the foundation of the Lord’s temple, the priests, dressed in their robes and holding trumpets, and the Levites descended from Asaph, holding cymbals, took their positions to praise the Lord, as King David of Israel had instructed.
11 They sang with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord:
“For He is good; His faithful love to Israel endures forever.”
Then all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord because the foundation of the Lord’s house had been laid.
12 But many of the older priests, Levites, and family leaders, who had seen the first temple, wept loudly when they saw the foundation of this house, but many others shouted joyfully.
13 The people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shouting from that of the weeping, because the people were shouting so loudly. And the sound was heard far away.
There was rejoicing and there was mourning.
Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time and season for all things.
There is a time of joy and a time for sorrow.
This moment before the completed foundation was a time for both.
I often feel as if most days are composed of joy always mingled with sorrow.
For several days, I have thought about the assembly of older people weeping.
They wept because they had seen and remembered the former temple.
Perhaps they knew how long it would take to accomplish such a feat…again.
Perhaps they simply grieved the lost years.
Is there something in your life that has been demolished?
It could be the loss of a job,
loved one or health.
Or a dream which has not gone beyond the faintest whisper.
There can be any number of ways that we feel that our “house” has been upended
and needs to be rebuilt.
There have been losses for me on different fronts over the last few months.
You may be nodding your head in agreement as you scan your days.
I read Ezra 3 and I was reminded it is alright to grieve.
Our American culture doesn’t have a lot of patience towards grief.
Another person’s grief can make us uncomfortable and uneasy.
When we grieve and allow others to grieve, there is honor given to the loss.
The losses matter.
Let’s give each other room to lament and weep and feel the depths of sadness.
Consider this, the sounds of joyful shouting and weeping were so loud that
they could not be distinguished as anything other than a loud noise by others.
God can distinguish between your weeping and your rejoicing.
He longs to comfort you as you walk among the ruins, survey
the remains and resolve to rebuild.
He is there in joy and in sorrow.
I come to Him in grief over that which no longer resides
in this world and in my life.
I exchange my broken walls for the true and sure foundation
I have in Christ.
I allow God to give me the expanse needed to grieve and
the nudge to begin the construction process.
Let there be joy.
Let there be mourning.
Let there be a time and place to rebuild.
Let there be time for each appointed one.