The people could not distinguish the sound of the joyful shout from the sound of the people's weeping, for the people shouted so loudly that the sound was heard far away. (Ezar 3:13 NRSV)
I reminded of the story told in the book of Ezra. The Jewish exiles are returning from Babylon. It's a ragtag bunch of leftover misfits. And in danger and poverty, they lay the foundations of the temple in Jerusalem. And some laugh and sing: this is their prelude to returning fame and fortune. But others cry and weep: this is a poor finale to the dreams that have died. The noise of their mixed singing was heard for long distances, we're told, and everybody wondered what was happening; they couldn't distinguish the "Hosanna!"s and the "Halellujah!"s from the weeping and the wailing. And that's a problem for us in life, isn't it? We are given mixed signals. There are ups and there are downs.

As someone once said, "Life is full of opportunities and pitfalls, and our job is to seize the opportunities, avoid the pitfalls, and be home by 6:00."

Fortunately, we have a savior who has been through all of the ups and downs for us!

Lord Jesus, thanks for riding the roller coaster with me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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