Tuesday, September 16, 2014

"The Blessing and Challenge of Joy" Part 3

    "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing…" (II Corinthians 6:10).

    The earthly perspective of joy and sorrow views the two inner conditions as mutually exclusive.  Conversely, the heavenly view sees joy and sorrow as existing concurrently in the hearts of those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.  

    Indeed, the same Apostle Paul who both exemplified and commanded, "Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice" also testified of great heaviness of heart concerning the waywardness of the nation of his heritage, Israel: "I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart" (Philippians 4:4; Romans 9:2).  "As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing" - such spiritual enigma comprises the inward atmosphere and environment of the believers in Christ.  We rejoice in the Lord Jesus, seeking to experience and express the unshakable gladness of heart we have in Him.  Life in a fallen world, however, frequently ushers us to the threshold and beyond of sadness.  Sorrow resides in the same chamber of the soul wherein joy abounds, and regardless of how much we may trust the Lord and rejoice in Him, we still feel the feelings of pain regarding difficult circumstances, situations, and conditions.  Mutually exclusive?  No, concurrent.

    We must accept this challenging spiritual reality, known only in Christ.  We seek to make the choice to rejoice in Him at all times and in all things whether we feel the feelings of gladness in our emotions or not.  As mentioned in Part 1 of this consideration, God's joy comprises a far deeper and greater reality than mere feeling.  Deep spiritual conviction rather constitutes the believer's gladness, known first as a matter of faith rather than emotion or sense.  Indeed, we may rejoice when every known and felt emotion seems wracked with sorrow.  We "count it all joy" even if we feel it all sorrow, choosing to "joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ" as a determination to see the Light of God's promised presence and involvement when all seems enshrouded in darkness (James 1:2; Romans 5:11).  

    The time will come when "God shall wipe away all tears" from the eyes of His trusting children in Christ (Revelation 21:4).  This is not that time.  For now, we rejoice even when sadness resides in our hearts.  Moreover, as did Paul, we rejoice in times of gladness fully aware that there is much to be sorrowful about in our present existence.  Joy and sorrow, for now concurrent rather than mutually exclusive in the hearts of those who know the "Man of sorrows" who is also the Lord "anointed with the oil of gladness" (Isaiah 53:3; Hebrews 1:9).

"The Light shineth in darkness."
(John 1:5)

Weekly Memory Verse
    Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name.  Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
(Psalm 49:2)

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