You know those backpacks with the straps designed to hold your yoga mat?? Well, my toolbox, though a little less fashionable, has a similar capability. Sticking out of its brown leather pouch is a most precious and useful treasure of mine. It stretches out long and thin, easy to grasp in any moment of sheer desperation.
I call it, “The Blanket of Sorrows.”
I first observed this “tool” as an essential element in the story of Job, but have since come to recognize it in the life of every believer who overcomes.
THE PLACE OF RIGHTEOUS HONESTY
Job’s story is one of great suffering. He is known as a man of blameless integrity who suffered as a direct result of God’s favor on his life! But as you read the story, and see Job sitting in the dust of his own scraped off skin, he doesn’t look like a great hero. In fact, he sounds bitter and overwhelmed by his pain.
In grief, I was fascinated by Job. As he sat in those ashes of catastrophic loss, a raw candor erupted from his soul. He spoke with vulgar honesty before the Lord. And yet, both at the beginning and the end of his story he is declared to be “blameless” and “right” before God (Job 1:1, 1:8, 2:3, 42:9). How did he do that? How did he bring his pain to God and remain righteous?
Sometimes we assume that to be godly, we must hide our pain, pretend to be happy, and ignore our own emotional devastation. Doesn’t Paul instruct us to “rejoice in the Lord always” (Philippians 4:4)? But when Job spoke, he didn’t hide his pain or pretend to be happy. He didn’t ignore the trauma and devastation of his loss. Instead, he opened the floodwaters of pain. He cursed the day he was born. His friends heard his laments and cringed. They responded with admonishments, reasonings, and religiously appropriate rationale. Still, Job’s posture, perspective, and position remained.
These three elements are important to this concept – posture, perspective, and position. Here, we will look at one:
When life is hard and difficult situations add pressure to the soul, stuff starts bubbling to the surface. Pressure, “trouble” (John 16:33), acts as the heating element on the stove, bringing everything in your soul to a rolling boil. This is where a friend might call and say, “I need to vent!” “I need to let off some steam!”
But venting the steam doesn’t change the contents of the pot.
This is the type of situation when the believer needs to access her tool – the Blanket of Sorrows! It is the safe place where we bring our raw honesty before the Lord, right to His very face, and it is credited to us as righteousness (Genesis 15:6). And in this mingling of our soul with the heart of God, the contents change.
Here is the key: The Blanket of Sorrows can only face one direction – toward the face of God. It sits under the weight of your grief as a sacred temple that ushers you into his heavenly presence.
Some people assume that to have “faith,” you have to lie. This assumption actually sets a person up to potentially lose their faith in hard times, because a lie is not enough to carry you through the journey of transformation – the one that inevitably happens when you engage the life-changing power of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
People lose their faith by turning away from God because they do not have the courage to face him in their gut-wrenching honesty. The Blanket of Sorrows is the opposite of that. You pull out your mat and lay it in the direction that faces the terrifying presence of God Himself because you believe that [he] exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Here, you present the raw honest substance of your soul and wait expectantly (more on that part later) until He answers.
Faith is knowing that you’re still His child. He’s your Good Father. He will be there, hear you, and do something about it. Bring Him your pain, beloved. Trust that He’s big enough to handle it. His shoulders are wide enough to carry your anger against Him. His heart is merciful enough to bend to your sorrow…
Never lose your Blanket of Sorrows, beloved, for here is where the miracle of transformation takes place.