Out of moroseness

The cat whines, off and on, for hours, at a frequency calculated to obtain some kind of resolution, but without communicating the problem he expects me to resolve. The barometer crashes. I succumb, whine, crash.

Help comes. Normally I read the “Five T’s” in a sitting. This time I spent two days reading 1 Thessalonians. Perspective restored.

I am charged to walk worthy of God who calls me into His own kingdom and glory (2:12). I can’t possibly. Of course I can’t: that’s why I must pray without ceasing (5:17). I need powerful Help. I can rejoice always (5:16) because I am called to repentance; I can give thanks for this and in everything else because it is the will of God, which is good (5:18; Romans 8:28). As always, everything could be so much worse. The only antidote to moroseness is thankfulness that it isn’t. But the truth is, I do not rejoice always, and I do not always give thanks. Sometimes I’m simply morose.

I just sent off my 21st annual Christmas letter. This year, I took my own chronicle a little hard. Why?! My granddaughter was born this year!!! The joy and highlight of my life!! Quite a few of my friends wrote me back thanking me for the wonderful exposition of God’s goodness through our year.

Ah, yes, we have had an excellent year, God has surely prospered us and we have received many wondrous blessings, and achieved many things. What could I possibly rue? The absence of adventure. No amazing travel stories. No rigorous hiking. No glamour at all. I left the path of celebration and rejoicing and took a detour to grieve the things I can no longer do. So I needed a strong hit of anti-moroseness — the strength of Paul’s exhortative love to his beloved Thessalonian church.

By God’s grace I do aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind my own business, and to work with my own hands (4:11). If I could only stop quenching the Spirit (5:19)… but He is strong. Unquenchable. He is my Help.

The Word of God is “profitable for doctrine, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (2 Timothy 3:16); the Word is also a ladder, lowered a rung at a time, sent to help us out of the pit of moroseness: and moroseness is the very antithesis of thankfulness.

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