In Christian circles, we often speak of the joy of the Lord, and rightly so. Jesus 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 every day will be free of sorrow or 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 with and passion for Christ that I’d not before experienced. But I’ll tell you 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 pray it. I had no desire to know Christ’s sufferings. Years later, after the Lord let me know Him more fully by studying His divine attributes and experiencing His 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 other times 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 or in you. Of course, if it’s due to sin that is another subject that 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 the Bible with fresh eyes, and discover that He’ll see you through the suffering.
Jesus, MAN OF SORROWS, thank You for being here for us when we are going through hard, sorrowful times. Deepen our fellowship with You.