Thursday, April 5, 2012


Thankfully the community of believers around me continues to encourage me, especially leading up to the times they perceive might bring sadness. Things like a holiday...My friend April sent me this excerpt from her devotional yesterday and I wanted y'all to read it too.
Sometimes between shallow happiness and a deep, sustaining joy is sorrow. Happiness lives where sorrow is not. When sorrow arrives, happiness dies. It can't stand pain. Joy, on the other hand, rises from sorrow and therefore can withstand all grief. Joy, by the grace of God, is the transfiguration of suffering into endurance, and of endurance into character, and of character into hope - and the hope that has become our joy does not (as happiness must for those who depend upon it) disappoint us.

In the sorrows of the Christ - as we ourselves experience them - we prepare for Easter, for joy. There can be no resurrection from the dead except first there is a death! But then, because we love him above all things, his rising is our joy. And then the certain hope of our own resurrection warrants the joy both now and forever.

At his appearing, the Son of God has just kept he hardest of all his promises: he rose from the dead, exactly as he said. This is marvelous affirmation, the absolute guarantee that he shall keep to every other promise, from salvation to the sending of the Spirit to the raising of the dead. This is bright, sustaining assurance of faith.

So what causes joy? What transfigures you, you flaming disciple, you burning witness, with such a fusion of joy in the encounter?

This: not just that the Lord was dead, but that you grieved his death. That, for three days, you yourself did suffer his absence, and then the whole world was for you a hollow horror. That, despite his promises this last Sabbath lasted forever and was, to your sorrowing heart, the last of the world after all. You experienced, you actually believed, that the end of Jesus was the end of everything.

Death reigned everywhere.

Death alone.

But in the economy of God, what seems the end is but a preparation. For it is, now to that attitude and into that experience that the dear Lord Jesus Christ appears, - not only an astonishment, gladness and affirmation, but joy indeed!

It is the experience of genuine grief that prepares for joy!"
Lord, the very reason You came was to give us hope. In all of Your pain You gave us an escape from eternal pain. Help me focus on that, Lord, when I look around at what is pulling at my heart. It's all because of You that I can rest. It's all because of You that I can rejoice.

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