A Seasoned Soul
The words of John Piper on the sorrow and joy of a seasoned soul are beautifully written and hit close to home. It wasn’t until I experienced true sorrow that I was able to dance in the freedom of joy. It wasn’t until I tasted the freedom of joy that my sorrow for the unsaved souls intensified to a level that caused action. My temporal body houses a seasoned soul and an eternal God, and I am thankful that He has allowed the seasoning and sanctification of my soul to take place. May I never waste the seasons of refinement, but only allow them to deepen my joy and continue on in the work He has set before me. In joy and in sorrow, He has my heart.
I hope you are blessed by John Piper’s words below….
It is not a sign of a seasoned Christian soul that steady joy is untinged with steady sorrow.
Or to put it positively, the seasoned soul in Christ has a steady joy and a steady sorrow.
They protect each other. Joy is protected from being flippant by steady sorrow. Sorrow is protected from being fatal by steady joy.
And they intensify each other. Joy is made deeper by steady sorrow. Sorrow is made sweeter by steady joy.
For the seasoned Christian soul, I do not see how it can be otherwise while people are perishing and we are saved. I do not see how it can be otherwise while these two passages are written by the same inspired man:
I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. (Romans 9:2-3)
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4)
Today is Good Friday – a day of remembering the death of Jesus as a ransom for my soul – and I find myself in a whirlwind of emotion. Early this morning, we sold our TV because we are moving in less than a week. Yesterday, we sold most all of our furniture and appliances. This morning, we left our home and headed for our oldest child’s elementary school to participate in an Easter egg hunt. There is nothing wrong with hunting Easter eggs, but my heart was elsewhere as candy stuffed eggs were strewn about the room and as chatter filled the air. As I snapped pictures of my daughter giggling at the sparkly pink egg that she found, my heart cried tears for the ladies I have seen in Jerusalem who stand at the Western Wall to pray and have no idea that Jesus is the Messiah and that because of His death on the cross, we have access to God. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit and the Lord now lives within us…..we don’t have to stand and pray at the wall for God to hear us. As I gave in and handed the begging baby a piece of Easter chocolate, my heart longed to sit down with the Muslim women that I will be living among very soon. There are women, just like me and just like you, right now in places where they are surrounded by darkness without one single follower of Jesus attempting to share the good news of the gospel with them. These women are precious to Him – future daughters of the King – and satan wants them blinded from knowing Jesus. His passion is burning bright and hot in my soul. I want to see daughters rescued and I want to see daughters delivered. I want to see their eyes light up with hope and experience joy that can never be taken from them. And so, I go. I let go of my possessions and I let go of dreams. I let go of family, and I let go of meeting weekly with my mentor. I let go of “security” and fall headlong into God’s calling. I run hard and fast and fearlessly toward a dark country where I pray my light will radiate supernaturally.
This morning, as I stood in the multipurpose room and watched the children clamor for eggs, the Lord showed me how He has cut one more cord of attachment to this town I call home. He is breaking each chain keeping me here. I was so sad about my children missing out on school activities like I had growing up, but not so much anymore. People are living and dying without hope and without anyone to tell them. Jesus endured the horror of the cross for me and yet I struggle with giving up a TV, some clothes, and American public school parties for my kids? Sigh.
I’m ready for next Thursday. I’m sad to say goodbye to my dear friends and family, but I’m ready. I know there will be much sadness and struggle in the days ahead – loneliness, isolation, rejection of the gospel – but what joy there is when you decide to follow Jesus no matter the cost. I am expectant as I fix my gaze on Jesus. I want to see the world through His eyes and I want to be willing to go when He says go. I want to see the supernatural as we forge on and take our place on the battlefield – a battlefield where war is waged over souls and people are desperate to know the Truth!
“It is grievous to think of these human souls going down to death
without even one opportunity of hearing the name of Jesus.
How many can I reach?
The needs of these people press upon my soul, and I cannot be silent.”
“A young man should ask himself not if it is his duty to go to the lost but if he may dare stay at home.”