Sunday, September 17, 2017
Turning Sorrow into Joy
UV 2776/10000 Turning Sorrow into Joy
Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
Jeremiah 31 v 13
The young rejoice in their strength while the old rejoice in their wisdom. But we who are in a relationship with the Lord, rejoice again and again, endlessly for we rejoice in the Lord. The “virgin” is the metaphor for the individual believer as well as the collective entity of believers, the redeemed of the Lord. Just as a virgin rejoices in synchronising her every move in dance with her betrothed, we need to rejoice in synchronising and harmonising our every thought, action and word with the Lord. We rejoice as the Lord in us and with us and for us, turns our mourning into joy. The very cause of deep sorrow becomes the reason or source of everlasting joy. He can cause our sorrows to flee away just as light sends darkness scurrying away. On our part, we need to turn worrying into meditation, grumbling into thanksgiving, complaining into praise, fears into worship, regrets into positive actions to change things for the better. He is our song and dance, the reason for our celebration of life. He will comfort us and wipe every tear from our eye as no one else can. The comfort ministry of the Lord is so important that the Lord describes the third person of the Trinity as the “Comforter.” It is an acknowledgement of the reality that in life on earth there are many sorrows, regrets, pains, afflictions but in each of these, the Lord comforts us. He comforts us in such a way that we end up thanking Him for the very affliction or sorrow or pain that we suffered for a while. Our suffering brings home the reality of a caring and loving Lord and God.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.” It is counter -intuitive for it is like saying, “blessed are you when you are afflicted, when you are rejected, when you are defeated, when you are suffering a loss of a loved one or a loss of face or fortune. We will be comforted either with a change in the circumstances that causes us to sorrow or a change in our attitude that causes us to rejoice despite the circumstance. The Lord also comforts us by sending us a “rhema” verse or portion of scripture that promises us help in trouble, comfort in pain and healing or deliverance in afflictions.
The Lord’s ultimate goal is that we are full of joy or overflowing with joy that expresses itself with praise, thanksgiving and worship. All the precious promises of the Lord are intended to give us the hope and sense of joy. Scripture says that He surrounds us and undergirds us with joy and gladness. His promises surrounds us like mountains surround Jerusalem. We will gain perspective and comfort when we understand, believe and claim these promises even as a mountain climber gains perspective, thrill and a sense of conquest when he climbs a mountain summit. The fulfilment of the promises of the Lord in our lives are then the high point s of our lives not our own efforts or achievements. Joy is not only our 360 degree environment but it is also our rock foundation. It is the basis or rationale of our actions and reactions. People of the world are joyful in a transient way on account of circumstances while we who believe in Jesus are joyful despite our circumstances. Jesus is described in contrasting terms as a “Man of Sorrow” as well as “Prince of Peace”. As a “ Man of Sorrow” He embraced and overcame our every sorrow in this world. He wore a robe of blood so that we will wear not sackcloth but a robe of rejoicing and salvation. As Prince of Peace, He dispenses His peace, the kind of comfort the world cannot give or take away.
Prateep V Philip