Sadness, struggle, joy and hope!


What do you sense the Lord saying to you in this passage?

“No one could distinguish the sound of joy from the sound of weeping.” (Ezra 3:13)
After 50+ years of living as exiles in Babylon, the Jews are free to return home.
Those who return begin the rebuilding project, with both tears of joy and sadness.
Joy because of the rebuilding, but sadness for the memory of the former temple.
And soon tears for the struggle and opposition they were to experience.
As Jesus followers, we are joining Jesus in rebuilding God’s creation kingdom.
We are restoring people, healing the broken and freeing those in bondage.
In this work, we experience both joy and sorrow, success and sadness.
Little breakthroughs are wonderful, but still so far from our original glory.
Feeding someone who is hungry can bring a smile to our face.
But seeing their ongoing condition of poverty or mental illness brings tears.
And add to this the challenge and opposition we experience – for doing good!?
I can relate to rebuilding God’s kingdom with tears of joy and sadness.
Sometimes I get discouraged, the the struggle wears me out.
But I hang on with hope… for one day all will be restored to its creation glory!
Lord, you wept when Lazarus died, even though you knew he would come back to life. Help me to share your tears of sadness for what is wrong, and your determination to make it right!


  1. Opposition and discouragement plus mixed feelings! I’m sure the returnees were frustrated and disheartened. It all came to a head when the rebuilding started. The local authorities wanted to keep Jerusalem in ruins – and they won some reprieve – they were able under King Artaxerxes – to be able to stop the rebuilding. How do I face opposition and setbacks – I’ve had them – but when I look back I see that God was faithful – and we know the rest of the story. Yet, in the moment, like the moment’s now when life can be discouraging – I need to look up and forward – beyond the today and into the future – and be able to live ‘even when the temple is in ruins’ or today the church is in turmoil with how to embrace people that are different. Help me Lord not to lose hope – but know that you are faithful!

  2. Mixed emotions.
    Rebuilding the house of the Lord triggered mixed emotions – joy in the rebuilding but sorrow in the size of the rebuild. Even today we have the same – joy and sorrow in the ‘rebuilding’/restoring His creation. It will never be restored in its glory until that day when He returns. And until that day we/I continue to work in His creation, recreating in His power guided by His Spirit, doing His will.

    Surely in temples made with hands,
    God, the Most High, is not dwelling;
    High above earth His temple stands,
    All earthly temples excelling;
    Yet He whom heavens cannot contain
    Chose to abide on earth with men,
    Built in our bodies His temple.

    We are God’s house of living stones,
    Builded for His habitation;
    He through baptismal grace us owns,
    Heirs of His wondrous salvation;
    Were we but two His Name to tell,
    Yet He would deign with us to dwell,
    With all His grace and His favor.

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