Monday, March 11, 2013

“Rejoice – Always?” Conclusion

Born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ experience an enigma of grace as we trust our Heavenly Father in times of pain, loss, and difficulty.

“As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (II Corinthians 6:10).

The world views joy and sorrow as mutually exclusive, and for those who do not know the Lord Jesus, this is true. For Christians, however, the indwelling Holy Spirit makes possible our capacity to rejoice when sorrow wracks our hearts and hot tears fall from our faces. We “count it all joy” even when we do not “feel” it all joy (James 1:2). We do so because the Word of God and the Spirit of God bear witness that our very faith began on a cross of loss, agony, forsakenness and death, all of which led to an eternal resurrection not only for the Lord Jesus, but for all who trust in His redeeming work. “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2).

We believe in a God who works all things together for good to those who love Him (Romans 8:28). We believe that our greatest joys are directly proportional to our deepest sorrows. We believe that loss is gain, tribulation precedes triumph, and that we pass through the gate of death in order to enter into the glory of eternal life. We believe that the Lord Jesus is risen from the dead, and that His newness of life impacts every moment of both time and eternity. We believe that the potential of honoring our God awaits us as much, or more, in dark valleys as on brilliants summits. We believe that He is present enough, powerful enough, purposeful enough, wise enough, and loving enough to somehow grace us with joy where it seems that only sorrow could reside.

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).

I do not believe that God finds pleasure in the suffering of His children. In His perfect love and wisdom, however, He does find it necessary to both determine and allow hardship in our lives. This being the case, can you imagine what must happen in the heart of God when our particular earth seems to have been removed, and when the mountains of our lives have been carried into the midst of the sea, and yet… and yet with broken heart and sorrowful soul we look to Him with the confession, “Father, I trust You and I rejoice in You!” No, we can’t imagine what happens in our Lord’s infinite heart when we so believe in His perfect and loving faithfulness. It must be joy to Him to be so trusted, and it surely honors the One so worthy of our trust and of all glory. Thus, may we “count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations,” fulfilling our high calling of God’s grace in Christ…

“Whoso offereth praise glorfieth Me.” (Psalm 50:23)

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