HANDLING Weltschmerz!

Weltschmerz is a term coined by the German author Jean-Paul, from the German, literally world-pain, also world-weariness. In its original meaning in the Deutsches Wörterbuch (German dictionary by Brothers Grimm) it denotes a deep sadness about the inadequacy or imperfection of the world.

One of the things we are battling, apart from our fight against the corona virus, is weariness and vexation. We keep thinking that the end of lockdown has come, now we can come out of quarantine, life is going to be normal again, we can pick up where we left off and finally move on with life. Then, bam, the announcement comes, the period of shutdown has been extended and you go, ‘Oh no, not again, when will this end’!

We are not just tired, but also bewildered at the turn of events as we haven’t faced anything like this before. We are flummoxed with this new way of life and how to process it. We are seeking answers for the many questions that plague our mind.

The prophet Habakkuk in the Bible can surely identify with us, for he also lived in a time and season that raised questions in his mind. He was puzzled about many things and he set about seeking answers to his genuine doubts. His book is an apt read for this season, being an accurate reflection of his mindset and his progress through his perplexity.

Let’s see what he was worried about and how he resolved his problems.

Habakkuk noted that his nation had become filled with violence and wrongdoing. Everywhere he looked, he saw strife, conflict and destruction. Habakkuk knew that he and his people were chosen by God and belonged to Him. The why did God choose to be silent and without taking any action when the nation was filled with such violence and conflict? Why did He not bring justice and back up His law by punishing those who did evil?

God’s reply was that He was going to punish and discipline Israel by an enemy nation. Now Habakkuk is even more confused and at a loss. His question: How could You God, our own Protector and Preserver, sell us to our bitter foes? How could You use foreigners who are more corrupt to discipline us, Your own people who are trying to live by Your laws? How could You, a holy God Who hates treachery, use a wicked people to fulfil Your will and Your purposes, especially with regards to Your own inheritance?

Habakkuk’s question wasn’t a matter of doubting his God or testing Him, but a dispute and puzzle of faith!

Many of us can identify with Habakkuk’s quest of of faith. We are not questioning God and His power, but His seeming abandonment of the righteous. We are often puzzled about how and why the bad people seem to thrive and prosper, while those who strive to live and be good are put at the mercy and behest of the same vicious ones? Why would a holy and righteous God use renegades who delight in brutality to rule over or penalize the good people? If He wanted to streamline His people, why not do it some other way than allowing their lives to be under the mercy of the merciless? That’s the predicament we will face with God, at one time or another!

Note that Habakkuk did not question God, but genuinely wanted clarifications for what stumped him about God. He knew his God and therefore could not understand this aspect of God – how could He use the unrighteous His instruments? It went contrary to all that Habakkuk knew of God, His ways and His nature!

Habakkuk not only enquired and voiced out questions to clarify his honest confusion, but he also waited and gave time for God to get back to him with a reply. He said “I will stand like a guard and watch. I will wait to see what the Lord will say to me. I will wait and learn how He answers my questions.” (Hab 2:1 ERV). He not only asked questions, but also looked and listened for His answer, stoid watch for like a watchman on the walls of a city.

Habakkuk’s dedication and devotion to wait until he heard from God are the key to his hearing God and a mark of his trust in God. He knew that God would indeed answer him and not ignore his search of faith. His willingness and faithfulness to watch until he received an answer from God demonstrates his stance and stand of faith.

This is where we fail and we are different from Habakkuk. Oftimes we do not have the tenacity or the patience to tarry for an answer from God. We ask or raise an enquiry, but then we scurry away do our own thing. We do not give time for God to answer nor watch for His reply. We move on to our next project that captures our attention and then form our own conclusions about what constitutes the answer to our queries. We don’t listen to what God has to say and so erroneously conclude many things, especially about the nature of God. ‘God tells the man who cares’ is a true saying, for you need to understand that He has His timing. In the right season in the correct moment, He will always answer the one who cares to wait for Him.

God did answer Habakkuk and gave him to understand that when the wicked had fulfilled their role as a tool to discipline the righteous, they would be punished. God would not overlook their evil deeds, but in the due season would destroy those who make violence a way of life. Their turn would come when they would indeed drink of the cup of God’s wrath and destruction. God would call to account those who trust in riches and feel safe from trouble because of it, the reason they feel safe to bully others. They think they are inaccessible, but God has His own time to deal with them.

In seasons of distress, when evildoers seem to go unpunished, it is time for ‘the just to live by faith’. In the season of trouble it is important to realize that God is still on the throne. Soon there will come a day when the knowledge of Him would cover the earth as waters cover it.

While the unrighteous are busy gathering riches by hook or crook so that they would be protected and free from disaster, God’s people will trust in Him. God assures Habakkuk that those who are truly innocent will be preserved through the coming judgment and oppression by their godly lifestyle for God truly rewards the right way of life.

In contrast, those that are full of evil desires, greed and extortion will not be able to withstand God’s judgements nor His punishments. They will face the consequences of their conduct and careless life.

In spite of troubled lives, we need to realize that God is indeed on the throne and one day the whole earth would recognize and acknowledge the presence and glory of God. This is our anchor and safety that will hold us to right conduct and trust. Ultimately, those who choose to live unruly and unscrupulous lives will be punished. They will not escape surely, even though for now it looks as if they are successful and untouchable.

With his questions answered and his focus clarified, Habakkuk now responds with a prayer, a song and a confession of faith.

He prays to God to demonstrate His power as of old and pleads with Him to remember to be merciful, even when He is angry with His people and doling out His punishments.

He composes a song proclaiming the might and majesty of God, with joy declaring His glory and extolling His power over all, now that his questions have been answered.

He also makes a decision and a resolve to thank God, whatever may happen or whichever circumstance he may find himself in – loss or gain. He determines that he will still sing and thank God, content that God is the One who keeps him safe, always.

He ends with the bold and positive declaration that “The Lord God causes me to be strong. He makes my feet run safely over the rocks and hills, like a deer ‘s feet.”

Habakkuk found a way out of his doubts and a means to overcome his Weltschmerz, his world-weariness.

He took his troubles to God, watched and waited for Him to answer, thus finding a solution to his questions. He found rest as well as solace in the ensuing vision he had of God and His power towards those who are His very own.

How are you handling your questions and queries, your misgivings and your misfortunes, your woes and your Weltschmerz?

Are you drowning yourself in some addiction or taking it out your frustration on others or bullying those under you?

Or are you imitating a man who also had doubts, but found a way out to solid faith?

Learn from and imitateHabakkuk iin knowing how to handle your deepest anguish.

Turn and return to God for closure on your concerns and compelling issues.

Move over from a world-view that gives you Weltschmerz to a God-view that enlarges your vision to see beyond the natural, by faith!

https://www.worshipsong.com/component/melody/songdetails/we-must-wait

We Must Wait


Verse 1
I must wait wait wait on the Lord
I must wait wait wait on the Lord
And learn my lessons well
In His timing He will tell me
What to do where to go and what to say


Verse 2
We must wait wait wait on the Lord
We must wait wait wait on the Lord
And learn our lessons well
In His timing He will tell us
What to do where to go and what to say


Verse 3
You must wait wait wait on the Lord
You must wait wait wait on the Lord
And learn Your lessons well
In His timing He will tell you
What to do where to go and what to say

CCLI Song # 38222
Randy Thomas
© 1979 Maranatha! Music (Admin. by Music Services)
CCCM Music (Maranatha! Music [Admin. by Music Services])
For use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use.  All rights reserved. http://www.ccli.com
CCLI License # 3225879

*Pics courtesy unsplash.com

WANT TO WRITE? HERE’S HOW YOU CAN!

https://youtu.be/-4zU0NFsUz0

Writing is an art, a skill and a science that can be learnt and acquired. You just need to pick a pen and paper to note things down! Do it constantly and consistently and soon it will become a practice as well as natural act.

Writing is simple – just put down what you want to put down. It can be your thoughts, your impressions, what you see, what you note, what you observe, what you feel, what you deduce, etc.

I have developed the habit of writing whenever and wherever I can, on the notepad available in my phone. When inspiration hits, I immediately store them in writing using these apps so that I don’t miss the idea or forget them in the flow of work and day!

To help you write, do these things:

1. GATHER CONTENT – Intent or aspiration or desire alone is not enough to write. You need a storehouse to draw from and a knowledge bank to draw on. Without a repertoire of content your writing will be just hot air and not solid substance that people can read and relish. If your writing is like candy floss, spun thinly out of minutiae, then those who sample your wares will not greedy to return for more.

2. BE OBSERVANT – To have a wealth of content, you need to be perceptive. Watch life around you and note the complexities as well as patterns of its flow. There is ever so much happening around you and if you care to see, your writing will have richness and nuances. So teach yourself to be alert and perceive changes around you.

3. LEARN TO PONDER – Don’t just bypass life and be satisfied to watch it. Think on what you have observed or what you see around you. Weigh and assess the events, incidents and people. Let the wheels of your mind turn and exercise, chewing on the fodder it has ingested from the world around. Digest the lessons you learn from life you see , becoming knowledgeable in the general nuances of everything.

4. BE INQUISITIVE – Explore and investigate to learn instead of simply browsing or passing by. Go a little beyond the surface and be curious to unearth new treasures that become a stock to draw on. Grow your storehouse of knowledge by being a discoverer.

5. BE A NOTE TAKER – Jot down thoughts that crop up and points that surface as you pass through your day. Recognize a nugget of wisdom that pops up on your consciousness and immediately put it down. These are the beginnings of what might later become a profound insight, an article, a poem or even a book. Your writing begins here, by noting down random ideas.

6. CARRY AROUND WRITING TOOLS – Get used to having small jotters or notebooks along with a pen. Make use of the various notepads and writing apps freely available on every mobile and iPad. There are a number of note pads or word apps such as Evernote, Penzu etc available for immediate and easy use. Exploit the capability of these gadgets to use cloud facilities for accessing and transferring data among various devices.

7. REVIEW YOUR NOTES & HONE IN ON A THEME – Time and again go back and read what you have jotted down. Set apart a time to look at some of them to see if there is a trail of thought to follow. Pursue that trail and see if you can flesh it out with some research. You can also select a topic and see if you have anything noted down relating to the topic. Maybe a number of them can be clubbed together to be compiled as a post.

8. MIND YOUR LANGUAGE – Pay attention to sentence structure, grammar rules and avoid syntax errors while writing. Your ideas need to be encapsulated in beautiful wrapping to entice the reader to continue beyond the first look. Your language can be simple but it has to be error-free.

9. EVALUATE YOUR WORK – Allow proficient writers and other knowledgeable people to read, critique and correct your work. Invite comments and concerns from friends and family. Improve your writing by accepting instructive and constructive criticisms. Do not shy away from exposing your writing to people, for it cannot then progress.

10. DISSEMINATE AND DISPERSE YOUR WRITING – Post online in whatever social media you are active on. Circulate your work among those who will appreciate your maiden effort.

11. FIND A WRITING COMMUNITY – Be part of a writing group or a writers’ conclave for it will help you grow. They will encourage your many steps and you will learn by reading their works.

12. PERSIST AND PERSEVERE – Initially you may not be able to produce much, but don’t give up. Continue writing and keep on doing it until you find your niche in this world. Do not be discouraged that your writing doesn’t flow. In the beginning it will be hard, but as you continue to push on you are sure to hit a wellspring of words. Keep on, for writing is not a sprint but a marathon!

Life is dynamic and in motion, not static and stationary. It is constantly moving, evolving and growing. It throws up enough nuggets of worth, if one is alert and sharp to catch them. Even death is part of life, possessing a beauty worth viewing and a lesson worth learning.

Capture, if you can and will, its artistry and charm in your words.

Extract, exhibit and excite others with its elegancies through your writing!

*Pics courtesy: unsplash.com

WATCHTOWER WITNESS

I watch the news and I look around,
I cry aloud and fall to the ground.
Don't You know what I see,
Or comprehend what I perceive!

Murder and mayhem in rampant rape,
Violence and vice in rage.
Justice is often just a joke,
While law seems often a hoax!

Who can know what You do,
When you use the wicked and redo!
Don't know why You employ an evil band,
Or use them as your cleansing Hand!

Yet I will truly trust in You as I stand,
Keeping watch over this my land.
I'll not fear loss from henceforth
For the just shall ever live by faith!

God's stringent judgments are ne'er in vain,
They often begin among those of His train.
God will still work among us as of old,
Ever conscious of His mercy as before!

So let's not therefore cry in despair
For we know the power of this our God.
Let's be people who stand and watch,
Hearts filled with joyful hope and holy desire!

Let's walk with feet like hinds on high places
Tho' harvest be lost and flock doth fail!
Our God is Sovereign over us all,
He'll put a song and we just won't fall!
                                       Sabina Tagore Immanuel
*Poetic form of Sunday Sermon by Ps Manoah Joshi (@manoahj)
© NLAG CHURCH, LITTLE MT, CHENNAI, INDIA