“Once you have been generously loved by God’s perfect love, make sure to be empathetic toward those struggling to smile.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – March 15, 2021
Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:4-6, NLT
So sad. Every day it seems sad stories dominate the news and define people. Another group of children taken hostage by terrorists, more dying from disease, political upheaval here and around the world. Or, the friends I know who seem to be stuck in sorrow: a wife close to death from ALS, another friend whose wife’s cancer has returned in a stage 4 vengeance. My heart hurts for those who hurt and for my own ongoing sorrows. I am learning to lean into the Lord’s love to lift me up in joyful trust. Christ’s love and comfort moves me from sadness to gladness.
The apostle Paul knew sad circumstances first hand: chronic physical limitations (his thorn in the flesh), rejection from political and religious authorities, and time in prison. Yet, drawing on his own experiences, he reminds other followers of Jesus who are sad in spirit: focus your hope in the Lord—He is coming soon. Paul continues, release your worries, and instead pray about everything. How? Tell God what you need and thank Him for what He has done. The Lord God has a track record of faithfulness that is 100% trustworthy. His love converts sadness to gladness.
“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you” (Psalm 85:6)?
When we humble ourselves and confess our desperate need for Christ’s love and the love of His followers we move from staying sad, stewing in our self-pity to a revival of joy in Jesus. He saved us and gave us His abundant life full of hope. A humble heart accesses heaven’s resources. In his book, The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis clarifies the relationship of humility to being cheerful: Humility, after the first shock, is a cheerful virtue: it is the high-minded unbeliever desperately trying in the teeth of repeated disillusions to retain his “faith in human nature” who is really sad. Sadness loses its grip when we go to God in humble dependence. His love gladdens our heart!
How do you move from staying sad to being glad? Recognize the reality of grief. God made you to grieve. Without a healthy process of mourning your loss, you will miss the comfort of Christ and His followers—sadly, ever stuck in a cycle of pain, anger and discomfort. Humble yourself before the Lord and use words to describe your broken heart: Lord I am mad, I miss her, I am ashamed, I hurt, I feel alone, help me to have hope in You. Restore the joy of my salvation. And, once you have been generously loved by perfect love, make sure to be empathetic toward those struggling to smile. Love them as God loves you. Mourn together, so you can rejoice together.
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights” (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NLT).
Heavenly Father, in the world I am sad, but in you I am glad. Help me rest in you, through Christ’s love and in His name I pray, amen.
Confide in a friend who knows and loves you, tell her of your sorrow and ask her for their comfort and prayers.
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