Sorrows, When God Brings Them

It is a hard thing to experience sorrow. But the Bible is pretty clear that sorrow affects us all. Among other things, conflicts, depressions, longings, and mornings can bring on sorrows and people are usually at the heart of our sorrows. Hardly has a zucchini caused us true sorrows. I suppose a spoiled crop or a tasteless dish could bring us worldly sorrows of sorts but they’re usually conflicts, fears, and loves lost that cut the deepest.

Sins can also produce sorrows. Suppose you’re live in such a way that dishonors God. In such cases do you suppose God sits by un-affected and takes His humiliation while you continually slap his face?

So here comes the question, does God make you suffer in your sin? Well, my answer might surprise you unless you’re familiar with the two books by Paul written to the Corinthians.

I’ll quickly sum up what our culture thinks to be cruel. God often does sends affliction and suffering! It can come by temporary affliction, or even something quite humbling like hearing from friend that you had better shape up. There is an example of this idea in Corinthians. A man sinned, but worse yet he remained in that sin unchallenged. When Paul learned this he sent his letter to the Church. He taught the Church that without repentance the church is to forsake even the presence of that brother until he get his act together. Sounds pretty harsh right? Kick the guy out of the church because he’s living publically in sin? That’s judgmental right? Are you surprised that not many churches follow this rule today? Well, before you blast the scriptures and God, stories like these don’t always end with judgment, but with repentance. True, for those who hold on to their sin their judgment is certainly banishment, death, and gnashing of teeth. But for those who repent sorrow turns into rejoicing. It’s the redemption story that our current culture has forgotten and the point made in the teaching. Don’t only focus on judgements, judgements with purpose have their place.

So it is possible that these sorrowful judgments, along with loving kindness, may, with God’s help, make someone sorrowful even to the point of repentance. So sorrow can be a tool. Yep, sorrows can be a loving gift from God. In the Corinthian example, “you were made sorrowful so that you might suffer loss, but only to the point of repentance, and the according to the will of God.” You can read the account for yourselves in Corinthians, specifically 1 Corinthians chapter 5 and 2 Corinthians chapter 7.

Remember the point of these judgements is repentance and comfort. A changed heart, and a different direction is the goal – well kinda. It is not repentance alone that lead us to a “salvation without regret”, but there is definitely a Godly sorrow that “avenges in this life the wrong in us.” This judgment acknowledges that there is a price to be paid for sin and Christ paid the price for our sins.

Here we realize the benefits of judgements, that godly repentence comforts our sorrows and our faith in Christ brings peace.

In Paul’s case his letter confronting the mans indiscretion likewise caused sorrow to fall upon himself. Yet it was his duty to confront the sin in the Corinthian church. You likewise may also rejoice when your friend is made sorrowful to the point of repentance. You could also examine your own sorrow. Is God causing your sorrow to bring attention to one particular sin in your life? Avoiding the subject of sin will not help you, sorrows can.

In the end we must accept that faith in Jesus Christ does not keep you from God’s instructive discipline. And should you wander it is also a comfort to know that sorrows can be the device God uses to bring you to repentance. In other words, when bad things happen it may indeed be God. And your friend may be the trouble God uses to inspire you to faith. What a great God we serve, he sends us both love and troubles. He leads us to eternal comfort and joy. Amen

A Life Worth Living

It is the grace of God given to us in Christ Jesus that we stand. In the end, in the day of our lord Jesus Christ, it will be the testimony concerning Christ that shall confirm us blameless, not our good deeds, not our status in this world.

A friend of mine’s mother went to heaven today, she was 95. I did not know her, I may have met her a time or two at church, but I don’t remember. I cannot tell you much about what she looked like, or how she lived. I don’t know if she was famous, rich, or poor. Did she have a liberated career, who knows? I suppose I could find out. Maybe she was the daughter of politician? Maybe she had ancestral ties to royalty? What I do know about her is that her son loved her very much, that he was a believer and that she loved Jesus. What joy there is in knowing Jesus! I can rejoice with my friend, not in his sorrow but in his joy, knowing the grace of God was with his mom. That she now resides in heaven with the Father. She loved and lived faithful to her calling in Christ. She was blessed by God, called to do His will, and nonetheless she knew she humbly breathed, and now lives by the mercies of Christ.

If this is all that could be said about her, is it not enough? Some of us aspire for a calling not of God. We think we should be a great singer, a famous writer, a popular preacher or a rich man like Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. Maybe God has a simpler plan for you and me. Maybe He wants us to be a great fathers or a loving mother like my friend’s mom. To be known in the end not for some worldly achievement, but for the righteousness given to us by the mercies of God through Christ Jesus – a good and faithful servant of Christ.