God created us as complex creatures, capable of feeling and sensing a whole garden of emotions. Made in the image of our Creator, we can both grieve the wrongs of this world, and celebrate the sweetness of this life.
This 2-week reading plan will lead us through a series of passages from Scripture that examine the seasons of mourning and dancing in the life of a believer. In the written responses here on the site, our writers will enter into this tension, articulating their personal experiences with grief and joy in hopes of freeing you to explore your own. By immersing our hearts and minds in God’s Word, and honestly presenting our laments to Him, may we remember that God is present with us, He is good, and He is faithful.
Sin—Jeremiah 17:9-10, Isaiah 64:6-7, Galatians 5:19-21, Romans 3:23
Redemption—John 11:25, Ephesians 1:3-10, Hebrews 4:15-16, Romans 8:31-39
I was blessed to have grown up with parents who constantly taught me God’s Word and sound doctrine. I heard the truth of the gospel thousands of times in the home. When I was 14, I ran as far and as fast as I could to the world. My life paralleled that of the prodigal son in Luke 15—drug addiction, sexual immorality, and deep rebellion. I was in the far country in my late teenage years.
Then, at 24, after years of rebellion, the Lord drew me to Himself by His sovereign grace and mercy. At rock bottom I cried in desperation, “Lord Jesus, I need Your blood.” He brought me to repentance and gave me a new heart. He put a new song in my mouth. I sang, with a newfound sense of joy, the words of Charles Wesley:
Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose went forth and followed Thee.
Then the battle began.
The Christian life has been one of fighting an ongoing internal battle. The flesh and the Spirit are constantly set in opposition to one another. Not a day of my life goes by that I do not find what the old theologians used to call “an irreconcilable war” within. My heart is troubled on a daily basis by the presence of indwelling sin, and by the reality of that tension between what Christ has redeemed me to be and doing “the very thing I do not want to do” (Romans 7:16). The longer I have been a Christian, the more I have come to understand the anguishing cry of the Apostle Paul: “O wretched man that I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
However, the ongoing battle against sin—and the failure that is experienced along the way—also serves as the platform for a growing love of the gospel. The realization of the weakness of the flesh causes me to cry out for deliverance on a daily basis and gives me a new sense of astonishment at the grace and mercy of God in Christ. The more I turn to the Scriptures, gather with God’s people in weekly worship, and partake of the Lord’s Supper, the more I realize the victory that Christ has secured for me and that I have already begun to experience.
The ongoing battle with sin that causes me to cry out, “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” is met by the victorious cry, “Thanks be to God who gives us the victory in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 7:25).
Today, as I did on that first day of conversion, I cry out in helpless abandonment, “Lord Jesus, I need Your blood.”
Written By Nick Batzig