Archive for the ‘joy’ Category

The sin of self-pity

May 16, 2011

If we give way to self-pity and indulge in the luxury of misery, we remove God’s riches from our lives and hinder others from entering into His provision. No sin is worse than self-pity, because it removes God from the throne of our lives, replacing Him with our own self-interests. It causes us to open our mouths only to complain, and we simply become spiritual sponges–always absorbing, never giving, and never being satisfied. And there is nothing lovely or generous about our lives.

Oswald Chambers

the Joy of New Life

January 21, 2010

Haiti earthquake 2010

They called her Natalie, because that is what she seemed to say when they made contact. Her real name was Hoteline Losana but as she talked to her rescuers from deep under the rubble, then sang quietly when at last they lifted her to safety, then sang again with extraordinary force as they lowered her towards the cheering crowd, it was Natalie that stuck. By then it was close to midnight, 14 hours after passers-by had heard her on the Rue Lalue, 12 hours after the French had arrived and more than a week after the earthquake had trapped her in a space slightly larger than a coffin. It was not the end for Ms Losana, 25, because of a stroke of luck that trapped her without crushing her in the remains of a three-storey furniture shop near the cathedral — and because of an indomitable will to live. She was shopping when the quake hit. As the building collapsed she was thrown on to her back on the first floor, next to a display of wooden furniture that crumpled under a 3ft by 8ft concrete slab. Related Links Keeping the Faith Fresh quake hits Haiti after ‘triple miracle’ Second tremor rumbles across the ruins in Haiti Jean-Philippe Oustallet, from Biarritz, one of the first to reach her, said that the slab came to rest 2cm above her head and 10cm above her chest. She must have cried out every day but no one heard her until late on Tuesday morning. A Haitian team was first on the scene and started hacking at the huge mass of debris with basic hand tools. At noon Mr Oustallet’s 20-strong team from Secouristes Sans Frontières joined the search with dogs, power tools, generators, lights, two doctors and a camera on a probe. For three hours, in sweltering heat, the French team dug down from the collapsed roof using circular saws to cut away concrete and drills to find access for the camera. As they got close they were able to ask Ms Losana her name and whether she was injured. She answered calmly that she was not in pain. When the camera penetrated the near-total darkness that had enveloped “Natalie” for a week the French asked if she could see the light. “Yes,” she said, “I see the light.” Then darkness began to fall for the eighth time since the quake. By dusk the French and Haitians had been joined by a third team from the US and fourth from Turkey. Erding Sarimusaoglu, leading the Turkish team, took over at the bottom of the access pit and found a crushed bed and a decomposing body blocking the way to the slab above Ms Losana’s head. For another hour the Turks cut through the bedsprings. “They’re tougher than concrete because they’re so compressed,” said Memo Tanrisever from Istanbul. By 7.55pm the French were back in charge and starting to worry about crush syndrome, which can kill an otherwise healthy survivor at the moment of rescue as compressed muscle tissue expands, releasing toxins into the bloodstream. After a conference between the French doctors and their American counterparts, Jeff Lewis, a paramedic from northern Virginia, began preparing doses of life-saving drugs and fluids for injection straight into the bone. “After this long it’s usually impossible to find a vein for a normal IV,” he said. Ms Losana had told the rescuers closest to her that she had been talking to another survivor until Monday. That survivor appears to have died on the bed above her after six days in an even tighter space. At 9.15pm the nauseating smell of death suddenly intensified on the roof and the body was brought out in pieces in a white bag. The man assigned to cut it up ran out, coughing, then wiped his face with a sleeve and went back to the hole. For two more hours the French expanded a pit next to Ms Losana’s head so that she could be pulled into it before being raised. The French doctors gave her fluids, checked her vital signs and talked quietly with her for what seemed like an age. At last one of them climbed out and gave a quick thumbs-up to the exhausted workers waiting in a small amphitheatre of rubble. We saw “Natalie’s” head first. Even from 30ft away, we could see that she was smiling. She was talking to her brother on her mobile phone. The Haitian team grasped the handles of her stretcher. The French formed two lines up a sloping slab to the flat section of roof from which her rescue had been organised. As they applauded, dust rose from their gloves. As she drew near, we heard her singing. At first it was hard to believe. Her lips were scarcely moving, but the sound was unmistakably hers. The French followed her out, their faces caked in dirt, tears welling up for some, flowing uncontrollably for others. As they hugged each other and the Haitians, four US airmen gently transferred her to a makeshift hoist and began to lower her horizontally down the 20ft wall to solid ground. As she went over the edge, Ms Losana filled her lungs and sang loudly enough for those below to hear over the generators. She was still singing at the bottom. I asked no one in particular what it was. “I don’t know,” said one of the exultant crowd of Haitians who helped her into the waiting ambulance. “It is a song of God.” Mr Oustallet climbed down and stood quietly with his team. “I won’t sleep tonight,” he said. “Too much emotion. I’ll sleep when the mission is finished on the plane back to Biarritz. In 20 years as a rescuer, this has been my most beautiful day.”

The Times

This is the joy of the Christian who is raised from spirtual death to life. We rejoice and we sing.

I could burst the blessed drum

September 2, 2009

Dr Farmer, eminent organist of Harrow, adjudicated at a Salvation Army Festival…

His musical soul was offended both by the drummer and the man with the French horn. He appealed to the drummer not to hit the drum so hard, to which the beaming bandsman replied, ‘Oh sir, I’m so happy, .’ When Dr Farmer turned with a word of similar appeal to the man with the French horn the enthusiast held up the much-twisted instrument and said, ‘But sir, I’m so full of joy I want to blow this thing quite straight.’

W.E.Sangster, These Things Abide, 1939, p.136

Joy and faith

September 2, 2009

Believe not and you will have no joy. Believe little, and you will have little joy. Believe much, and you will have much joy. Believe all, and you will have all joy, and your joy will be full. Your joy will be like a bowl running over, good measure, pressed down, and running over. Amen.

Robert McCheyne