Sorrowful, Yet Always Rejoicing

(This is an old FB post)

It’s 2:30am but I can’t go to bed till I share this.

I found one of my new favourite things today

I’ve been thinking a bit about some of the great paradoxes of the bible and of the Christian life. In 2 Corinthians 6:10 Paul talks about being “Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing”.

Over the last few years my eyes have been increasingly opened to the pain of the world and the almost constant pain or suffering that can be a reality of human life. Poverty, earthquakes, cancer, sin and so many other things mean that our lives are going to involve much pain and misery. Not only that, but if we are to truely love our neighbours, we open our lives to include their suffering also.

Yet, Paul talks of rejoicing in this sorrow. For a long time it has been hard to understand how both of these things could co-exist simultaneously. I always thought he must have had some way around it, that he avoided suffering in order to find joy. But he didn’t, earlier in this chapter mentions his experience of “afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger”. It seems to me that if anyone had a physical circumstance that would have robbed him of his joy, it was Paul.

In no way does the bible advocate simply avoiding suffering or ignoring it by distracting ourselves with something else. Not only will we experience our own personal hardships, but, like Jesus and Paul did, we are called to deep compassion and active love especially for those in greatest need. The bible teaches to self-sacrificially love our fellow humans in a way that will inevitably cause us great suffering. How is this life possibly one that leads to “always rejoicing”?

At the very heart of the bible is the good news that Jesus first came into our brokeness. Jesus chose to love us in a way that caused him unparalleled suffering. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Through God’s glory we have on offer a joy that is unshakeable and constant in the face of all earthly circumstances.

In a world full of immediate, real and deep sorrow, Paul talks about having an indomitable, all satisfying, everlasting, unbeatable joy founded in the glory of Christ.

Today I can say that despite great sorrow, I can rejoice in Christ’s glory. Through earnest seeking and desiring for Gods will in my life, he is revealing his glory with increasing levels of clarity, and my joy has never been fuller or deeper or more unshakeable.

If you’ve gotten this far, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and I really would love to talk to you about anything here if you have something to say 🙂

I’m a little tired as I’m finishing this and I’ll apologise in advance for spelling/grammatical mistakes!

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