Sorrow and Joy
24 October 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Scripture: John 16:16-22 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
16 “In a little while you won’t see me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see me again.” 17 Some of the disciples asked each other, “What does he mean when he says, ‘In a little while you won’t see me, but then you will see me,’ and ‘I am going to the Father’? 18 And what does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand.” 19 Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again. 20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. (John 16:16-22 NLT)
Life has its ups and downs! I think our primary or current experience tends to influence and shape our current theology! We don’t really like tension and so whether we realize it or not we often follow the course of least resistance (or tension). This can pull us toward one end of the functional theology spectrum or the other.
When times are tough, when our faith is tested, when life is particularly hard, our theology shifts toward looking for a better life in the afterlife. When things get tough, we look eagerly for Jesus to come back soon! We think a lot more about heaven. We sing songs like “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,” and “Some glad morning, when this life is o’er, I’ll fly away!” and “Won’t it be wonderful there!” We like Bible verses about “treasure in Heaven” and “eternal rewards” and “No tears in heaven!”
Then when we’re prospering and comfortable and things are rosy, our theology focuses more on God’s blessings in the here-and-now and less on our rewards in the “there-and-then!” We sing songs that celebrate our present and “expected to continue” blessings, and we practice our faith differently, we use our money differently, and it even influences our politics! I’m not judging this, I’m noting it for our consideration, friends! Sometimes life is hard, faith is costly, and there’s sorrow and loss. Sometimes life is easier, faith prospers us, and there’s blessing and joy. Like Jesus said, there will be both. Let’s learn to roll with it and trust him for the outcome!
Father, Thank you for the joy! Help me to accept the sorrow as well. I Trust You!