A man of sorrows… (Isaiah 53:3b)
What does it mean to be a man of sorrows? Would it be fair to say that the life of this man was defined by the sorrows he experienced; that the seminal characteristic of his life was sorrow? When people looked at Him, was sorrow all they could see? If sorrow not only describes but defines Christ, wasn’t there more to His life than sorrow?
Perhaps we can see the determination that got Him through this sorrow:
And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)
Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)
Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, “Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.” (John 12:27)
Was this world just something to endure? Was it something to just push through? Christ certainly had a grasp of the big picture, but He also had joy, and it was found in obedience. Something we too can experience.
“Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” ( John 15:9-11)
“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves.” (John 17:11-13)
How do you find joy in the midst of sorrow? Consider the opening statement of James in his New Testament letter: Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4)
Joy in the midst of sorrow may require the long view (see Hebrew 12:2 above). We need to see that the process, and the result of that process is being perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. That sounds like something to be joyous about.