Thursday, April 9, 2009

Promised Joy out of Sorrow

The beauty of pink blossoms.... after the death of winter.... pictures for us the JOY that comes out of suffering... ....
Jesus - Who for the promise of JOY … endured suffering…..
(Heb 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.)

Good Friday is almost here… the day we remember the suffering of Christ. Jesus, we are told, endured the suffering because of the 'promised' JOY ! What JOY ?? The joy of knowing that because of His death YOU and I could be saved from eternal punishment - the JOY of victory over sin and victory over DEATH.

Because of our instant gratification modern mind set, we have turned away from recognizing sorrow as a good thing in our life. We do all we can to avoid it and to minimize it – in whatever way we can -- even though we, at some level, laughingly admit "no pain, no gain" !
I’m not advocating seeking it nor self-inflicting it.. but sorrow (in some form or another) does come to all of us. In fact we are told that we WILL suffer if we are joint heirs with Christ, BUT we are also promised that we will be glorified together with Him as an end result!
Rom 8:17 “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

We see a true-life experience in Job.. the man known for his ‘suffering.
In his own words, Job tells of how, before his suffering,, he only knew about God through what he had HEARD about Him... but afterwards he knew Him because he had SEEN him with his eyes. (Job 42:5)

There is something revealing in Job’s name.
His Hebrew name is Iyob. Yob…means ‘persecuted’ with an Arabic root meaning ‘return, repentant’. The first letter of Job's name is I, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet - Aleph. It is the letter that represents the Oneness of God. It is a silent letter speaking of the mystery of God and God's name “LORD” is derived from the name of this letter. Jesus , of course refers to Himself as the ‘first’..the first letter of the alphabet. (Rev.22:13)

Putting it all together.. we see the story of Job revealed in his name. In his persecution, God was the source - the first, who carefully watched over the degree of suffering allowed to come upon him. Job's suffering brought about a 'turning' in his life, a repenting, which took him to a higher place of relationship with God.
We know that the end result of Job's suffering was indeed JOY -- the joy of restoration of all he had lost with added blessing… and the comfort of friends who came bearing gifts!

I remember times in my life that have been heavily laded with sorrow. Of course, my reflex emotion or desire was to escape as quickly as possible. But then…finding no way out, I turned to find God…..and I found the secret.
God is in our pain. Our sorrow opens the door into a very sweet place close to His heart. Just like a sobbing child runs for the comfort of its mother’s arms and ‘enjoys’ the security and tender love it finds there, so I too have learned to know the Father’s arms.
And also in that place we learn patience.... trust.... we learn submission,… we learn to KNOW God – personally.

A dear friend, Tammie, gave me gave me a quote this week that I thought was so insightful...
"The difference 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.” (Walter Wangerin, Jr. - Reliving the Passion)


Tammie @ Rigney Ministries said...

Father, help me endure with gracefulness whatever suffering comes my way, knowing that You LONG to comfort me and WILL comfort me, if I pull in close to you, rather than turning away.

Julie, I had never heard that about Job's name. It gives us insight that God is ahead of our suffering, watching over us and directing what degree of suffering is allowed to come upon us. What a comfort! Especially knowing that He has promised never to allow us more than we can handle.

Sara said...

I really love that quote at the end by Walter Wangerin.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Wonderful quote...distinguishing between joy and happiness. So true!

The Curnews (Demara) said...

that was great Julie!

" does not disappoint..." THAT'S for sure!


Trish said...

Love your post Julie. I sometimes think I am a bit of a 'Job'. Not that I believe I am handed sufferings to any great But because I do seem to need 'reminders' of God's strength and 'involvement' in my I believe He allows me to experience joy (of overcoming) which I wouldn't have had allowing these trials to come my way.

James Janzen said...

I do miss the flowering cherry trees, the flowers, and the GREEN grass. The snow is almost gone but everything is still brown and dead. I did see a little patch of green grass yesterday. There is hope.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

I still am troubled by the destruction of Job's children, and the "new" children to "make up" for their loss. Knowing God gave Satan a green light to destroy their lives just weirds me out, especially since they were in a place of being thankful to God when they died. I've read the comfort was knowing they were in heaven...but the horrors of having to dig them out and bury their mangeled bodies...I don't know. Sometimes God seems cavalier in His dealings....and yes I know that the story of Job is likely a "drama" and not an actual event.
I identify with Job at times, when God has seemingly dealt sorrow my way, and I am silent before Him as the hurt is too deep for words.