Sorrow and Hope
We were created to experience emotions. God didn’t create people to be robots, instead he created us to have different experiences of joy, excitement, and even disappointment and sorrow. The Christian life is one that ebbs and flows as we naturally go through the ups and downs of life.
So when we talk about joy and hope in the Lord let us not forget how often it is mixed with sorrow and grief. We should feel sorrow when we see and experience the broken world around us and within us. Don’t try to suppress sorrow but feel it and feel it deeply.
After God created the world and called it good, a terrible thing happened. Humans, the ones who were created in God’s image, the ones who were supposed to reflect God’s glory in a unique way, rejected God and his loving authority over their lives.
The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 And the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
The God of the universe who created the heavens and the earth, the one who the Psalmist says reigns in power and glory, that strength and majesty are ever before him, the one who is worshipped in the splendor of his holiness, who before him all the earth trembles, the one who reigns and does all that he pleases, this gloriously great and happy God, this God felt sorrow to the point that it grieved him to his heart.
We affirm and love God’s sovereignty in all of life, but don’t equate that with him being a cold, impersonal deity. We need to know that in His Sovereignty, God feels deeper and more correctly about injustices and evil and sorrow than any of us. So when you see someone going through a hard time, or you see injustice happening, feel it, not just because it’s the right thing to do but because that’s what our Triune God does.
Which brings us to Jesus. It was said of him that he “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” and yet Jesus endured sorrow and pain and suffering, even suffering on the cross and taking our sin upon himself for the joy that was set before him. Jesus told his disciples “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
There are many sorrows in this life but we have a great hope. That hope is that in Jesus nothing “will separate us from the love of God.” And because of that hope we can be people who are “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”