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Joyful Sorrow?
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If I were to ask if you have ever experienced sorrow, I would feel fairly confident that even though I can’t actually hear your response, you would say, “Oh, yeah!” And if I were to ask if you have ever experienced joy, I could feel just as confident of the same response. But here’s the question of the day. Have you ever experienced sorrow and joy at the same time? 

The idea of experiencing joy and sorrow at the same time is a rather unnatural one at first thought. After all, sorrow is a deep feeling of sadness. And joy is a high feeling of well being. It doesn’t seem that the two could cohabitate well within the human soul. And for many people, they can’t. But for the person who is enjoying a personal walk with Jesus, this phenomenon is not unnatural at all.

To grasp this, we have to understand that happiness and joy are not the same thing. Happiness is dependent on our circumstances. Joy is a pure gift from God. Therefore, if circumstances of our lives bring tragedy, grief, disappointment, and sadness, we most likely will experience a period of sorrow and unhappiness, which is very natural. But if we are wise, we will spend that time drawing close to Jesus in prayer, praise, and reading God’s Word.

Supernatural Strength

That’s not always easy to do. In fact, it can seem almost impossible during emotional strain to even manufacture enough energy to open the Bible, let alone pray. And praise? How does that work? How can a person praise God while spiraling into the depths of depression? The truth is that we can’t. Not by ourselves. We need supernatural strength to be able to sing praises while experiencing sorrow. But the good news is that if we will just make that one first step of asking Jesus to join us in our sorrow, we will then be in his hands and joy will be on the way.

Notice I said joy, not necessarily happiness. Joy is a pure gift from God. A lifting of the spirits. A song for the soul. Joy is God’s DNA in us, a supernatural ingredient that connects us to hope and security in our Father, no matter how unhappy we may be. But the key to unlocking that gift of joy in sorrow is to praise God and to confide in Jesus, our worthy companion. Pushing ourselves to that first step of singing praise, or speaking Bible promises out loud, or pouring our tears into Jesus’ waiting, scarred hands is the formula for the supernatural delivery of joy.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13).

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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