Joy in the Midst of Sorrow
June 12, 2024 Blogs by: Tim Jennings, M.D.

The Bible tells us that on earth, Jesus “was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3 NIV84).

We know that Jesus’ life was not one of fun and games, not filled with amusements and distracting entertainments, frivolous activities, or pleasure-seeking distractions. Jesus became human for the most serious of reasons—to eliminate sin, to stop rebellion, to eradicate falsehood, to be our Savior.

And Jesus knew that in order to win, to eliminate sin, destroy Satan and his power of death (Hebrews 2:14; 2 Timothy 1:10), He Himself would have to suffer many things, be rejected, despised, and ultimately crucified. He knew that the path He would walk would not be easy—yet despite all the heartache, pain, struggles, and suffering, our mighty Savior did not falter.

Why? Because He truly loved. And His love focused His heart not on self but on what His actions would accomplish and, therefore, despite the pain of His sojourn, it was “for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV84).

In the midst of abuse, rejection, betrayal, injustice, torture, and crucifixion, Jesus saw joy. There was joy not in the experience of being betrayed, falsely accused, rejected, despised, tortured and killed—but, rather, in the fulfilling of His mission, on accomplishing what He came to accomplish. There was joy in knowing that His choice to live the truth of God, to love completely, to stay faithful to His Father, to practice only the design law methods of heaven, truth, love, and freedom, despite His mistreatment, He would reveal heavenly light. He would vindicate the Father. He would demonstrate the truth of His own character of selfless love. He would expose Satan as a liar and fraud. He would destroy the infection of fear and selfishness contaminating humanity. He would develop a perfect sinless human character. He would provide the remedy needed to save every human being who trusts Him; and His actions would provide the means to eventually eliminate all sin, suffering, and death from God’s universe and, thus, restoring all things to perfection.

And we can experience this same joy in the midst of the sorrows and struggles of this sinful world. If we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as He kept His fixed on the Father, and if we remember the truth of the Great Controversy (that we are in a universal war), the design-law methods of God, and our power to choose loyalty to our Creator by applying to our own lives His design-law methods in how we govern ourselves in the face of worldly injustice, then we, like Jesus, can know that we are lights in a dark world, that our witness, like so many of God’s friends through history—such as Daniel, Stephen, Paul, and the many Reformers. We will give testimony to Jesus, to the God of heaven, and to the methods and principles of life and health. We will know with confidence that our sorrows, our struggles, our difficulties cannot prevent the higher purpose or impact of heaven’s love, truth, and principles shining forth through us; and we can know the joy of revealing heavenly light to the lost and reaching souls for God’s kingdom! We, like Jesus, can experience the joy of purpose, the joy of mission, the joy of advancing God’s kingdom in the face of earthly sorrows, and thereby know that our transient pain and struggles are working together in God’s hand to hasten the coming of our Lord (2 Peter 3:12).

So,

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:2, 3 NIV84).

 

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Tim Jennings, M.D. Timothy R. Jennings, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist, master psychopharmacologist, Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Fellow of the Southern Psychiatric Association, and an international speaker. He served as president of the Southern and Tennessee Psychiatric Associations and is president and founder of Come and Reason Ministries. Dr. Jennings has authored many books, including The God-Shaped Brain, The God-Shaped Heart, and The Aging Brain.