When I watched a friend of mine bury his beloved wife, his heart was cracking apart with grief. The loss and loneliness are a crushing burden he carries every day.
It seems almost sacrilegious to read this verse about rejoicing when we face trials in respect to my friend's circumstance. Does God really expect him to rejoice in this devastating sorrow?
Ephesians 1:5 says, “God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.”
Do you see the joy and pain in this verse? God’s adoption plan was sending his only Son to die in our place. What pain! What sorrow!
Look what it says next, “He wanted to do it and it gave him great pleasure!”
Pain and joy. They seem so diametrically opposed to one another and yet, their mutual presence is at the core of God’s rescue plan for us!
Why should this journey of following our Savior be any different?
Joy comes from knowing God and trusting his way. Joy comes from the deep springs of the soul. It doesn’t happen overnight, it’s developed over time as we grab hold of his hand and put one foot in front of the other. As we walk his way.
Jesus said in John 16.33 (NIV), “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Father, help me to take heart because you have overcome the world. Thank you because the peace you give is not like the "peace" of the world. Jesus, you are my peace in the middle of my trouble.
Today's Challenge: Will you choose joy in the pain of your circumstances? What blessings are there in your pain? Take some time today to focus on the good, instead of the bad and make a list of signs of God's goodness in your life.
Additional Resource: Jesus had the chance to complain. Look what He chose not to say on the cross.