In the book of Isaiah we hear God telling the prophet how He is different than the humans He created:
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
Isaiah 55:8-9 [New Living Translation]
It will be no surprise when I say that we live in a world beset with difficulties, anxiety, fear, and sorrow. There are people who are frustrated and tired of being in lock-down status in their own homes. There are people who are terrified of contracting COVID-19, many for good reasons if they suffer from compromised respiratory issues, and other health maladies. There are people who are grieving the death of loved ones from the virus, and there are family members whose grief is aggravated by the fact that they could not have a funeral during lock=down days. There are many who have become unemployed as businesses shut down and terminate or furlough employees. No paychecks mean hard times for the finances in the household.
Sorrows and fears, anxiety and frustration. Many people are suffering, and the writer of Ecclesiastes understands this. We read in Ecclesiastes 7:14:
In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him. [ESV]
Here is this verse in the New King James Translation:
In the day of prosperity be joyful,
But in the day of adversity consider:
Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other,
So that man can find out nothing that will come after him. [NKJV]
And here it is in the New Living Translation:
Enjoy prosperity while you can,
but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.
Remember that nothing is certain in this life. [NLT]
I tend to accept joy and will completely immerse myself in the enjoyment of happiness, often forgetting to thank the Lord for the blessing of joyful events.
But, then there are times when I feel like I am being inexorably pulled to the precipice and am certain to go over the edge, plummeting down the waterfall. Rather like this video from Canada and Horseshoe Falls in Ontario.
When those hard times hit, i am the first one to ask God why this has happened to me. What is the purpose of this, why did you allow this?
I am ashamed to admit that often this questioning is tinged with anger and accusatory finger-pointing toward God.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.“
Matthew 5:43-45 [ESV]
The blessing and the difficulty — the writer of Ecclesiastes is spot on when he says that God sends them both. Both the evil and the good receive the benefit of God’s sun shining down on them. Both the just and the unjust receive the rain that God sends to the earth. Likewise, the pandemic the world is experiencing does not distinguish between the just and the unjust.
The difference, Beloved, is that those who are in the Lord Jesus Christ are assured that, whatever difficulties we experience here, we will be united with our Savior for all eternity. This is not wishful thinking; rather it is a Biblical certainty. Jesus said that His disciples would be with Him in heaven, and He was not just talking about those in the room at that moment!
In the book of Revelation we read:
Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
Revelation 5:9 [ESV]
Jesus ransomed His people from “every tribe and language and people and nation.”
So, lean on Jesus. Come to Him through faith and keep your focus on Him, rather than on the problems of the day. He is powerful enough to save you to eternal life. The problems here are temporal, temporary and virtually irrelevant. Look to Jesus!
Father, I pray that I will keep my eyes focused on You rather than on what is going on around me in this trouble ridden world. I praise Your Name for the gift of salvation through JEsus Christ, Your Son. And I look forward to being with people who love you from every tribe, language, people and nation. Praise Your Holy Name.
4 thoughts on “Joy and Sorrow”
Thanks, Ellen. Praise the Lord that He is our Rock and our Shield, in all things!
Thanks so much for your encouragement.
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Thanks once again, Linda.we all need reminding of the truths of God’s Word. I claimed His promise this morning that He tells me not to fear or be afraid because He is my God. It is He who strengthens me and upholds me with His righteous right hand. AMEN AND AMEN!
Beautiful message of hope! God bless you and the work of the Lord!