Joy and Sorrow

There is something about the inbetweens in life that seem to hold truth. Currently, I am considering the tension between realizing the power and tragedy of the cross and comprehending the eternity and joy of the resurrection. I believe that intellectual Christians can become enamored with the tragic nature of the cross and champion the brokenness of Christianity to the neglect of the all-consuming joy we inherit. In order to connect with a fallen world we have taken on a fallen expectation of suffering and pain. Personally, I believe I have too easily focused on the nature of Christianity as a religion that allows for darkness and hurt even in the lives of the faithful; however, the true essence of Christianity is surrounded in a joy that conquers all darkness. In a way, it has become hard for me to expect good and pleasant things from the Father’s hand. In a profound recognition of the cross we are all called to bear (for our own benefit), I have lost sight of the resurrected life we are called to lead. “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; yes, I have a goodly inheritance.” This verse in Psalm 16 almost brought me to tears when my friend and mentor John Prickett prayed it over me at the beginning of the summer. I am not advocating a prosperity Gospel or one in which we romanticize our walk with God to the neglect of the reality of suffering, but I just think we need to receive God’s generous nature in our life. Let joy be the surprise at the end of surrender. Do not become hardened to life through the pains that assault us. Embrace the hand that gives, as well as the one that takes away. I don’t know where these thoughts resolve, but the westminster catechism says that our purpose in life is to “give glory to God and enjoy Him forever.” Let Him bring a smile to your face for His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

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