Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Sad Hebrew Captive

"The Hebrew Captive"

  This poignant marble statue was beautifully carved by Chauncey Bradley Ives in 1864.  It's on display at the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk.  Ives' artistry has frozen a moment in time where we can glimpse the sadness of the Jewish people as they were held in captivity in Babylon for 70 years during the time of Daniel.  The sculptor captured the feeling of sadness in the droop of the young woman's head and her melancholy expression, and the way she leans upon her silent harp.  She has no desire to pluck the strings, because there is no music in her soul. 

Psalm 137:1-2 says, "By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.  We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it."

Since the beginning of time after the first sin (which caused the first "loss"), we've all had to deal with sadness and loss.  The word "loss" by its very definition means that something is missing - something that was valuable and important to us -- something that might have been the very joy of our hearts. 

The more you love, the more susceptible you are to feeling sadness and loss.  Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote, "Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."  I think most of us would agree to the truth of his words, yet we must also be prepared for the bittersweet results we are left with.  I'm writing "melancholy," because I'm feeling like the statue looks.  It's hard to pull yourself from the pit of melancholy.  That old song, "Only Jesus...." comes to mind.

To escape the pit of melancholy, we've got to let go our grip on the root of sadness and loss that holds us down, and reach that hand up to Jesus.  He has His nail-scarred hand held out, ready to lift us up.  I know He wants to fill that empty loss with His own dear peace and joy.  We just have to be willing to make the trade.

"You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.  To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.  O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever" Psalm 30:11-12.

The Lord alone knows and understands our sadness and loss -- and He loves us like no one else ever can.  Thank you, Jesus.  You are my Light and my Salvation. 
            "Delight thyself in the Lord...." Psalm 37:4.

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