You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. Ps. 30:11-12 (ESV)
Think of the psalmist who composed the lines above. He was mourning (according to most versions, other versions say "wailing" or "sobbing" or "wild lament"). Mourning does not happen to blissful, undisturbed people going about commonplace lives. The psalmist claims that his mourning was turned into dancing so that his glory could give PRAISE to God.
I tend to think this psalm was written after God had already done something amazing for the psalmist, and not as a prayer of faith. I like to ask myself what the psalmist would have been thinking while in the midst of his mourning. Do you think he grumbled and resented God for allowing horrible things to happen to him? Do you think he felt disillusioned with life, and thought (even for a moment) that the promises of God were bankrupted by the enormity of his pain?
We are often very quick to express our desire that our lives be a testimony, or a witness, to the glory of God and the gospel of Christ. But often I think we speak that sentiment heedlessly, without due consideration for WHAT exactly the Lord will ask us to witness ABOUT. We cross our fingers and hope that we get the "cattle on a thousand hills" testimony--riches and fame to the glory of God.
What happens if God's perfect plan for your life is to witness the harder things about the gospel of Christ: forgiveness, reconciliation, grace, mercy? These are lovely words to define, but painful to demonstrate effectively. And there's no question that we are MEANT to demonstrate them. (1 John 3:18). We are not simply God's little children with our hands open to receive blessing; we are the very breathing body of Christ himself. It stands to reason that each of us is called to exemplify an aspect of His nature. Technically we're called to exemplify ALL aspects of His nature, but there's grace for that inevitable failure!
So how will we react when the witness God formed us to bring doesn't exactly fit our definition of an "extraordinary" life? What if we are meant to show God's power in healing (which first requires disease, injury, heartache) or forgiveness and reconciliation (which first require broken relationships) or mercy (which first requires betrayal) or grace (which first requires failure)?
Are we prepared to be the people we claim to be?