Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Though Sad

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Matthew 5.4

Blues in the Night

Grief will visit us periodically. Its shadows will reappear unexpectedly, sometimes throwing us in darkest night. Alone and unable to see, we cry for what we’ve lost or never had: our lover’s touch, our family’s warmth, our friends’ laughter, and so on. The emptiness is so overwhelming we think we’ll never recover.

Even in our times of deepest sadness, though, David reminds us that God’s “favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30.5) Sorrow comes and goes, but God’s favor endures day after day, year after year. He smiles on us always, even when we’re bereft of any natural joy. Our constant happiness depends on this truth.

Alone, Not Abandoned

As Jesus told His disciples He soon would be taken from them, their hearts sank. They’d been with Him for only three years. In that short time, their lives changed radically. They witnessed miracles beyond all human comprehension. They learned things that opened their minds to a future of unlimited possibilities. Now they heard that it was suddenly ending. They had every reason to feel depressed.

Don’t be troubled by this,” Jesus assured them. “I won’t leave you comfortless, like orphans. I will come to you.” He understood how we feel when grief strikes—like orphans, abandoned and unprotected. Loved ones try to console us, but their words ring hollow. How can they possibly know what we’re feeling? When we put our complete faith in Christ, loneliness and despair become opportunities for companionship and comfort. His promise to come to us lifts our spirits in hopeful anticipation.

Joy Will Come

Jesus taught us to be happy even though we feel sad, because we’re confident that joy will come. All believers should plant this promise in their hearts to reap its benefits in times of need. But it’s especially vital for GLBT Christians to cherish this truth.

Embracing our identity as God intended often demands sacrificing long-held comforts. Family and friends may turn away. Understanding may evaporate. Celebration dissolves into mourning. As people of faith, we can’t allow any of this to affect our happiness. Christ gave His word that we will be comforted. That’s worth more than anything we’ve ever lost or will ever have.

If you're dealing with sadness, take a minute and watch the sun rise bring new joy!

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