In Christian circles we often speak of the joy of the Lord, and rightly so. He tells us to pray in His name to our Heavenly Father so that our joy will be made full. We share Christ’s joy when we use the gifts He’s given us. Joy is a “fruit” of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That doesn’t mean, however, that life is free of sorrow or that we’ll be on a joy ride to heaven. Far from it. I remember when Philippians 3:7-10 became my life verses. I prayed, “Lord, I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection!” I was changed after that prayer. The Holy Spirit filled me and I read the Bible with new eyes. I had an intimacy and passion for Christ that I’d not before experienced. But I need to let you in on a little secret. I stopped my prayer before the end of verse 10. I did my own edit of applying the Bible to my life. Philippians 3:10 says, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” I did NOT pray “and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” I saw the end of the verse. I read it, but I didn’t want anything to do with the fellowship of suffering with Christ. Years later, after the Lord faithfully let me know Him more fully through studying His divine nature and attributes and allowed me to experience Christ’s power in ways beyond my power, it was time for me to experience the “fellowship of His sufferings.” It hurt. It was not fun. I cried. I journaled Scriptures. And, my intimacy deepened with the Lord in a way it could not have had I not gone through that time and others since then. Isaiah 53:3 states about Jesus, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a MAN OF SORROWS and acquainted with grief…” If you are going through a time of sorrow or grief, that doesn’t mean something is necessarily wrong with you/in you. Of course, if it’s due to sin, that is another subject which the Bible addresses and has guidance concerning. But if you are staying the course with Jesus and are suffering in some way, this is when you can get up close to Him, curl up in His arms, read your Bible with opened eyes, and discover that He’ll see you through it.
Jesus, MAN OF SORROWS, thank You for being here for us when we are going through hard, sorrowful times. Help us fellowship well with You.