December 28, 2022

Joy in Sorrow

Written by Boyd Bailey

When stuck in sorrow…joy requires you to move toward intimacy with your Savior and with one another in a life-giving community.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 28, 2022

For I will turn their mourning to joy, will comfort them, and make them rejoice rather than sorrow. Jeremiah 31:13

The holidays can be muted days for those who have a hole in their heart from loss. The loss of a loved one. The loss of a relationship. The loss of health. The loss of finances. The loss of opportunity. Gratefully, subdued sorrow can be filled with the joy of Jesus. For a soul to be healthy, pain must not be ignored, but rather grieved and comforted by Christ and community. Jesus understands your loneliness, in His darkest days He cried out, “I am forsaken.” Yet, His experience of rejection…becoming sin on the cross, gave you acceptance into the light of His love. Yes, you are…loved and not alone…comfort awaits you in your crying. Joy is God’s gift to you in His son Jesus. Celebrate the birth of life in Christ and rejoice in His lavish love for you.

The prophet Jeremiah understood the paradoxical life experience of joy and sorrow being sipped from the same cup…provided by God. Because of sin, sorrow, and death; mourning is necessary to move forward to the joy of the Lord as our strength. The wailing of our soul is replaced by the sweet comfort of rejoicing in praise and adoration of the goodness of our God. Very practically, Henri Nouwen illustrates sipping sorrow and joy out of the same cup: “We need to remind each other that the cup of sorrow is also the cup of joy, that precisely what causes us sadness can become the fertile ground for gladness. Indeed, we need to be angels for each other, to give each other strength and consolation. Because only when we fully realize that the cup of life is not only a cup of sorrow but also a cup of joy will we be able to drink it.” So, we drink in God’s love so our heart is hydrated with comfort, joy, and peace to move forward one day at a time. Drink up!

“Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22).

When stuck in sorrow…joy requires you to move toward intimacy with your Savior and with one another in a life-giving community. Text the one you have been meaning to text… your being out of sight may cause another to think you are too busy to be together. Yet, your love waits to be released by initiating conversation…so another will know the status of your tired soul. Or, do the same for someone else you have not heard from in a while. Your love is not meant to sit still, but after being still to search for sorrow and infuse the joy of your laugh and the medicine of your presence. The best gifts cannot be bought online but only given in person with God’s grace.

Henri Nouwen continues to develop this theme of Jesus giving all when He sorrowed the most: “But let me not forget my lonely moments because it does not take much to make that loneliness reappear. . . . When Jesus was loneliest, he gave most. That realization should help to deepen my commitment to service and let my desire to give become independent of my actual experience of joy. Only a deepening of my life in Christ will make that possible.” Indeed, Jesus saw the joy in sorrow…thus He endured pain…knowing that His gift of joy would become your gift of joy.

“For the joy set before him [Jesus] he endured the cross, scorning its shame…so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Hebrews 12:2-3).


Heavenly Father, give me your strength and peace to drink from your same cup of joy and sorrow, while I still love and trust you, through Christ’s love, and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Whom do I need to reach out to and check on that I haven’t heard from lately?

Related Reading

Nehemiah 8:10; Isaiah 35:10; John 16:20-21; 2 Corinthians 2:3

Worship Resource

Maranatha! Music: Trading My Sorrows


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