September 20, 2021

Painful Joy

Written by Boyd Bailey

There will always be a tear in your heart for love never stops loving, but God wipes away your tears with grace and truth.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 20, 2021

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, NKJV  

Our friend of 30 years went to be with Jesus a few days ago. Our daughters were friends from birth. My wife Rita and I recorded a one-minute video for Michelle to celebrate her 60th birthday that she never saw. She was infected by COVID on her birthday and died twelve days later. Painful. Jarring to our community. How can it be that the one who lived so selflessly for others is already gone? In the intense pain of the loss of love, where can we find comfort, peace, perhaps even joy? The sting of death is real and can wreck relationships unless comforted by Christ.

And to further help put death in its proper perspective for Jesus followers, the Apostle Paul as he approached his graduation to heaven spoke confidently of walking by faith, not by sight. Our body is but a temporary dwelling that is absent from the all-encompassing presence of the Lord. But once we exit our earth suit (body), we are eternally with the Lord without sin, shame, pain, or sorrow. Our spirit is released to be with His Spirit of everlasting love. Joy unspeakable!

“Then I would still have this consolation— my joy in unrelenting pain—that I had not denied the words of the Holy One” (Job 6:10).

How is your heart? Has a severe loss caused you to lose your joy, to miss out on being loved and comforted by your caring community? Or, maybe you feel unable or unworthy to cast your cares on Christ, who cares for you with the gentleness of a compassionate mother and the love of a patient father. Your heavenly Father waits with open arms to hold you close and the Holy Spirit yearns to comfort your heart. Ask eternal love to convert your earthly pain into the joy of a life with Jesus. There will always be a tear in your heart for love never stops loving, but God wipes away your tears with grace and truth. In praise to Him, tears of pain become weeping with joy!

The Russian author, Fyodor Dostoevsky gives us a glimpse into death’s painful joy in his classic book, The Brothers Karamazov. Listen to Father Zosima’s wisdom as he approached death:

I bless the rising sun each day, and, as before, my heart sings to meet it, but now I love even more its setting, its long slanting rays and the soft, tender, gentle memories that come with them, the dear images from the whole of my long, happy life-and over all the Divine Truth, softening, reconciling, forgiving! My life is ending, I know that well, but every day that is left me I feel how earthly life is in touch with a new infinite, unknown, but approaching life, the nearness of which sets my soul quivering with rapture, my mind glowing and my heart weeping with joy. 

“Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).

Prayer

Heavenly Father, in my pain help me to fix my eyes on Jesus and His joyful hope, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.


Application

Who can I invite into my grief to help comfort me through my pain and sadness?


Related Reading

Psalm 9:9, 18:2; John 16:22; Philippians 4:13; Revelation 21:4


Worship Resource

We The Kingdom: Light of the World


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