“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” (Luke 6:21b, NIV2)
We all go through times when we can’t help but weep. A loved one passes away, a friend ends up divorced, an acquaintance is transported to a hospital, or your children are leaving home to attend university. These are sad moments.
However we can anticipate that our children will come back home for the holidays. We can encourage those who are suffering in hospitals, as well as those who are deeply discouraged. We can look forward to seeing the ones we love when we, too, reach the gates of heaven. In all that sadness, there is more rejoicing than ever, if we do not linger on the depressive side of things and focus on our bright futures.
As I write this, I have my own sadness to face. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I feel an empty void when I remember that my youngest son will be leaving home soon to attend seminary. His absence will be felt. I know he will become a mighty warrior for God, still I find myself longing for those good ol’ days when we our little family was still all together.
Generally my thoughts change gear when I start to anticipate him coming home for Christmas, however!
Today, after I write this devotional, just ten days before Darien leaves home, My Father gave me a big smile at church, when one of the students that I befriended while he was attending my school came to greet me. He had given his life to Christ and I was so filled with joy. God reminded me then that with Him at my side, I can always expect to rejoice! And so can you.
Jesus knew what He was talking about when He said this. He confirmed this a bit later as well when He addressed His disciples: “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.” (John 16:20, NIV2)
Notice here again, Jesus stressed that “grief will turn to joy.” His disciples suffered when their Master was arrested and crucified. Their world had turned upside down. They had believed that He was the Messiah who would overcome all these Romans! They were in total turmoil.
If they only could have realized that: “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22, NIV2) Yes, grieving is part of life, but there is a joy that no one can take away from us, even amidst extreme adversity!
In Northern Italy, in a village called Bellano, there is something quite mysterious: Casa del Diavolo — the house of the devil. This is the name of a tower built on a high rock, overlooking the river Pioverna. Its origins seem unknown. However it seems that this was the place where licentious banquets were celebrated as well as satanic rituals.
Right in front of Casa del Diavolo is a church. I can imagine the horror, pain and sadness its members endured when they realized the tower was being built. How would anyone like for their front door to open out onto a place devoted to the evil one? I am sure that numerous prayers were said!
Today, the doors of the Casa del Diavolo have been closed. There will be no more devil worship in that building. The members of the nearby church, as well as the whole town of Bellano, can only rejoice with this turn of events.
Even nature rejoices, for nearby is the Bellano gorge of “Orrido”, with its breathtaking views of sparkling water and waterfalls declaring that God is in control!
It’s up to us to either focus on disaster or on the One who can give us joy that “no one can take away”. After all, He guaranteed us that: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20b, KJV)
(To access the entire “Worthy are the Unworthy” devotional series, please click here.)