I read this morning from Ezra 3 with my children.
And when the builders laid the foundation of the temple of the LORD,
they set the priests in their apparel with trumpets,
and the Levites the sons of Asaph with cymbals,
to praise the LORD, after the ordinance of David king of Israel.
And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks to the LORD;
because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever towards Israel.
And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD,
because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.
But many of the priests and Levites
and chief of the fathers, old men, that had seen the first house,
when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes,
wept with a loud voice;
and many shouted aloud for joy:
So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of the joy
from the noise of the weeping of the people:
for the people shouted with a loud shout,
and the noise was heard afar off.
It's a curious thing, the human heart.
In Ezra 1:1, I learn that this endeavor was prophesied by Jeremiah,
stirred up by the Lord's work in a heathen king's heart,
entirely directed by and according to the will of God;
blessed and commissioned --
and yet grieved over by some of God's people.
It looked like nothing to them,
because they had hearts wedded to loss, captured by the past.
To many, God's work was a joyful affirmation of His help.
They looked forward with praise and thanksgiving.
But to some, this new thing was just a record of their losses.
They howled in misery.
It strikes me how differently the two groups respond
to the very same work of God.
It's easy to do, when you suffer a loss,
to treat every new gift like a curse.
To reject it all as worthless because it isn't what it was.
Or it isn't what you had wished.
But that doesn't mean it isn't God's will.
And it doesn't mean He won't bless it, or fellowship with You through it.
And it reminds me that if I want to grow,
if I want to be mature,
I'm going to have to forget the things that are behind,
and press on, reaching forward to the things that are ahead,
reaching for the goal of God's upward call in Christ Jesus.