Another beautiful sunrise this morning! These posts often feature that day’s sunrise or the previous sunset, from my vantage point. I use an archive photo on cloudy days. I simply love this time of day!
A friend of mine is going to a wake today. I’ve been to plenty this year, including that of a relative’s 7-year-old daughter, just last Saturday. There simply is no way to escape grief. In the English language version of the bible, there are two, two-word verses.
John 11:35 Jesus wept.
1 Thessalonians 5:16 Rejoice always,
While we may think these two have nothing to do with each other, they in fact do. Mourning is necessary and good for our soul. We must experience it when life takes those turns. Jesus mourned, so should we. At the same time, we are to rejoice in our mourning, otherwise Paul would be a liar. All this comes as we walk closer and longer with Jesus. When we do, we will study our bibles and come to cherish passages like this:
2 Corinthians 1:3-11 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort, too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.
My commentary says that we don’t know what happened to Paul, but it is thought that it happened to him after he wrote 1 Corinthians. Those folks apparently knew something happened, but not what or to what extent. Apparently, the circumstances were very difficult. That shouldn’t preclude us to applying this passage to the difficulties of our lives. Paul doesn’t present qualifiers. Furthermore, we can despair of life itself apart from the beatings Paul took. Haven’t we all felt we could no longer live at the death of a loved one or the betrayal of a spouse? Certainly, we have. No, this passage is for all and for any circumstance in which we need comfort. We have comfort through God directly and indirectly through other believers. Yes, we can be comforted by non-believers, but they simply are not able do what Paul describes because they simply do not know God.
This is no small point because we believers have been given a gift that others do not possess, nor do they know anything of it personally. They can see evidence, however, through a believer as we see in this most familiar passage:
2 Corinthians 4:1-6 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
This last verse is the verse behind HisLightShines.com. It is my hope that these words encourage all of you to seek a tighter relationship with Jesus so that your light will shine brightly in a dark and fallen world. Think of it as a cabin with light on inside. Our job is to keep our windows clear so that those wanderers may be drawn to the light. They then may discover the true source of that light – Jesus himself.
That’s really all that matters, anyway. You and I have nothing truly worthy to offer except that which has been given to us through Jesus. The longer and closer we walk with him, the more peace and joy (and all the other fruit) we will be blessed with. With it, even in the most difficult of circumstances, we will be comforted by God and therefore able to comfort others with that which we have been so freely given.
This is how we rejoice when we weep.
Father, how wonderful are your teachings! Yes, it is true, just as David says in the very first verse of the Psalms, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, or sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” Thank you! Amen.
Copyright © 2017 Scott Powers