Joy and Sorrow

Yesterday I wrote a bit about the joy of serving God found in using his gifts. Today I want to communicate that sometimes life is hard. Sometimes in the Christian walk it feels much more like a chore in serving than a triumph.

Every morning I read a bit of Charles Spurgeon. A couple of days ago I quoted him in saying “Christianity never was intended to make men miserable. On the contrary, it has a tendency to make them happy.” I agree whole heartedly with this, noting though that Charles Spurgeon also struggled greatly with depression.

Christianity is not always sunshine and happiness. There are many days that a Christian can feel as if they are walking waist deep through the valley of the shadow of death.

It’s easy to be joyful when your cup is running over, but sometimes your cup feels as dry as a Texas drought. It’s easy to find temporal contentment when nothing hurts, but life often hurts and hurts badly. There is a difference in joy and in happiness. Happiness is an emotion that is brought about when life is good but is quickly replaced by sorrow when life turns. Joy is found both in happiness and in sorrow. Joy is the deep contentment in the Lord that does not change with the circumstances of life.

When life gets tough, it is easy to get near sighted and lose focus, missing the contentment found in God because we become self centered. We must take an example from Job, a man who lived in an anguish that no person on earth since has experienced. He said “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me!” Job found joy in the midst of sorrow because he knew his hope lied in the service of his maker, and that his life would be fulfilled in eternal redemption, not a temporary solution.

Whether life is good or bad, where is your hope? Is your heart wrapped up in eternity, or does it jump from emotion to emotion? Today rest in a hope that is eternal, rooted in Christ our true redeemer.

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