Ezra reports that when the returned exiles in Jerusalem laid the foundation of the new house of the Lord, “the people shouted with a great shout,” but that old men, who had seen the first temple — the glorious one that Solomon built — “wept with a loud voice . . . so that the people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people’s weeping” (Ezra 3:11-13).
G. K. Chesterton observes that “worries are never anything but worries, however we turn them round. But a sorrow is always a joy reversed” (The Return of Don Quixote).
It’s Five Minute Friday, and today’s word is “fight.” Last month, my theme seemed to be “Be still; be quiet; wait.” And I wonder how fighting and waiting relate to one another. We think of fighting as tumultuous, but so often stillness is battle-won. We must fight to be still.
And sometimes, when I am waiting, outwardly calm, inside I have battle-tumult. Reverse me, turn me inside out, and find the reverse side of the stillness is a fight.
It seems the Israelites did not fight their captivity. They lived in far-away Persia, and built homes and livelihoods, raised families, held government jobs, waited quietly. Was it a fight to keep still? A fight to see pagan kings drinking from the holy vessels of the house of God? A fight to give up beautiful daughters to the lusts of pagan kings, to send them, at risk of their lives to petition for favors?
Were they still in their returning? Did those old ones, who remembered Solomon’s temple, keep outwardly calm as the sorrow of captivity was reversed into the joy of a homecoming? And there, in the new temple foundation, sorrow and joy met one another, each the reverse of the other, combining in one indistinguishable shout.
Is that mingled shout always the greeting for the fulfillment of waiting? All the sorrow of the wait, the pain of the fight to keep still against all the things taken away, all the things denied, meeting finally the joy of things restored, things granted?
Let your waiting be a fight. Keep still and watch for the dawning of the One who reverses the sorrows, prepares joy for us.
Use the button above if you want to join in the Five Minute Friday fun, or just read more posts on the prompt. (You can break the rules, like I’ve done, and write for more minutes than specified.) You can also be encouraged by posts like this one from a friend of mine: Fight. And Light.
©2013 by Stacy Nott