It is recorded in Matthew 6:25-34 that Jesus said…

   “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, &the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, & yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive & tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, & your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.  33 But seek first the kingdom of God & his righteousness, & all these things will be added to you. 34  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Cross Shadow.jpg  One of the most amazing things in Scripture is what Paul wrote about how Christians live each day.  He wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Behold, we live… as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing.”

  From these two passages I’d like to ask you to consider a few things.  And maybe I’m thinking about what I’ll write as I think of Siran Stacy’s tragedy (Click here) and a friend who emailed me that on Thanksgiving day his 32 year old nephew was killed tragically and desired to have something to give him for his brother to help deal with the tragedy.

  Sometimes it’s hard to see the cross for the storm clouds.  Yet we do see the cross!

  Christians are able to be sorrowful and yet rejoice at the same time BECAUSE OF the cross.  When we look at the cross we can know (!) that no matter how difficult the problem or situation may be, it can’t mean that God is angry or punishing us because Jesus took all (!) God’s wrath for our sin on the cross!  Thus we are able to rejoice!

  Christians are able to rejoice in suffering because we therefore know that whatever God allows into our life He has done so because in His infinite wisdom it is ultimately for our best benefit.  And note… we don’t have to understand what we’re going through to believe that last sentence!

  Christians are able to rejoice in suffering because we know this life… even if it lasts for 100 years… is NOTHING compared to where and who we will spend eternity with!  In heaven WITH JESUS!

  Christians are able to rejoice in suffering because we know that the end result of what we go through makes us more like Jesus!

  There are a lot of people who worry and fear that the worst tragedies will come into their life.  But that’s where 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 comes in.  The first passage written at the beginning of this post is there for a reason… tragedy may very well happen.  But just because a tragedy happens does NOT mean God is punishing a person OR that they are out of God’s will (Aside: Jesus never sinned, yet he was a man of sorrows acquainted with grief.  Not only that, he was hated and eventually killed!  So much for hardship being due to sin!).

  Rejoice!  Rejoice IN THE LORD!  Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS!  Again I say… REJOICE!

  Your salvation is secure!  Your sin is forgiven!  You have a home in glory!  You will be with Jesus forever!