So that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything!

Good Friday Reflections: The Greatest Joy Comes After the Greatest Sorrow

 Experiencing Joy After Sorrow


Our Greatest Joy comes after Sorrow!

As I sit here alone in my home (mom and 3 kids out on an adventure), I have a few moments to reflect on this day and it’s impact on my life.  Two passages of scripture capture my thoughts on this Good Friday (the day we set aside to remember the death of Jesus).  The first is found in Matthew 26:38-39 and the second is Hebrews 12:2-3.  My hope is that by remembering Jesus today you will be encouraged and strengthened for the incredible joys that God has prepared for you.

2 Good Friday Reflections

Matthew 26:38-39 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

  • Jesus shares his sorrow with close friends: During a time of prayer, Jesus shares with 3 of his close friends that his soul is in deep sorrow. Sorrow so painful that he feels like this sorrow alone could kill him.  It is a vital part of life and especially the grieving process to share our hurts and pains with those whom we love and are close to.  It is the path to connection and comfort.

  • Jesus shares his sorrow with his heavenly Father (he prays): We cannot miss this point.  The God of the universe shares his pain and sorrow with his heavenly Father.  Obviously, The Father knows his heart and what he is going through and what he will be experiencing on the cross and yet Jesus still shares his honest and raw emotions with his Father through prayer.  Finally and most importantly is Jesus’ words in his prayer.  (1) He asks God to take away this sorrow and the looming pain to come and (2) He lets his Father know that despite the outcome {whether he is spared from this pain or not}, he will trust Him.  It is extremely important for us to remember, as Jesus did, that it is ok to ask him to remove the pain and sorrow and yet to affirm your trust in Him for what is best {“not as I will, but as you will}.

Hebrews 12:2-3 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

  • Keep the end in mind: God has set a perfect plan in place for your life and mine.  How do I know that?  It’s simple, look at the life and example of Jesus.  God is the author and perfect of our faith.  He is causing all of the sorrow and pain to work on us and perfect us in his image – to make us complete.  So, we keep the end in mind as we endure our circumstances.  Jesus was not just focused on the cross, but as well on what the cross would afford you and me.  He saw the joy set before him in the form of the resurrection… our forgiveness of sin… our redemption… our reconciliation with the Father, just to name a few.  Keep the end in mind!
  • Remember Jesus: We are encouraged in this passage to not only keep the end in mind but to keep our eyes on Jesus and to remember what he endured for us so that we do not lose heart and give up.  We all fail. Even the disciples bailed on Jesus once he was dead.  They were scared, fearful, lost heart.  We allow days like today to be a reminder of who Jesus is and what he did for us so we could know God more fully.  If you feel fainthearted or without hope today… remember and look to Jesus.

We cannot and will not embrace the joy of the resurrection without feeling and experiencing the pain and sorrow of the crucifixion.  If I simply experience joy after joy, that joy is diminished – it loses it’s power and impact to transform my life and my circumstances.  However, if in the midst of my greatest pain and sorrow I find joy, how much sweeter is that joy?

We must never forget we serve a God who experienced great sorrow.  Remember your greatest joy will come after your greatest sorrow. Share your sorrow with loved ones… invest time in prayer with God and then wait for the joy to come!   Allow today, Good Friday, to serve as a reminder that God loves you and that through fixing our eyes on him we will one day share in the greatest joy of all – perfect and eternal union with Jesus!

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