JOY WITH SORROW
If joy is understood to be a positive attitude of contentment, then it is certainly possible to be joyful and sorrowful simultaneously. This paradox is illustrated when a faithful brother or sister in Christ dies physically. Although one will certainly mourn the loss of his Christian friend, there is joy in knowing that heaven is the eternal home of God's faithful ones (Rev. 2:10). Sorrow, like happiness, is also a temporary feeling, but it results from unpleasant physical circumstances. It is possible for a child of God to be sorrowful about something and yet still preserve a joyful attitude if he can maintain a proper spiritual perspective. How can such a perspective be preserved? The key is to mentally "step back" from the sorrowful situation and reflect upon the fundamental spiritual truth. In the darkest hour of mortal grief, one's foundation of joy will not crumble as long as he is cognizant of the far-reaching extent of God's awesome love. No matter what tragedy may strike a Christian, there is nothing that can overwhelm or erase the joy to be realized in this truth. One must "count it all joy" when he falls into unpleasant circumstances, knowing that the testing of his faith will produce patience (James 1:2-4)! And, may we never forget "that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Rom. 8:18). Let us now contemplate...
SORROW WITHOUT JOY
Tragically, sometimes a child of God will allow his joy to be overtaken by sorrow. This happens when he loses proper spiritual perspective (by forgetting the fundamental spiritual truth) and becomes overwhelmed by unpleasant physical circumstances. An example of this pitiful case is seen when a Christian turns his back on God after losing a loved one. A Christian with rock-solid faith will not allow sorrow to extinguish his joy. Those of the world, because they are living in sin, waste much of their God-given time in sorrow without joy. This is not surprising since sorrow and unpleasant physical circumstances are natural effects of living in rebellion to God's will.
Dear listeners, we will continue this theme tomorrow by reflecting upon joy as it relates to persecution and indifference. Have you been examining your own heart and life? Are you obeying I Thess. 5:16? Are you striving to "rejoice always" ? Such is far from easy, but it is a command, and faithful followers of Christ have no right to disregard any of His commands. You can "rejoice always" , but only if you maintain a constant focus on the fundamental spiritual truth--that is, that God loves you. Remember, nothing can change that fact, no matter what happens to you physically!