Joy & Grief

“JOY AND GRIEF”

Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.” (Proverbs 14:10) A line from one of the greatest spirituals ever written is, “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen. Nobody knows my sorrow, nobody but Jesus.” Truly, no one knows your heart, its joy and its grief, but Jesus! We share the heights of our joy and the depths of our sorrow with each other and we can often empathize or sympathize with one another, but it is from our own limited experiences. We understand with our own limited minds, hearts, and understanding. Even in the closest marriage, where we have been bonded together by God as one flesh, there must be constant effort to seek to understand one another and to maintain that unity that the Lord blessed us with. We know so much about one another, and we go through so much together, but through it all only the Lord KNOWS our hearts.

Think about how Mary must have felt when the angel Gabriel brought her the news that she would give birth to a son even though she was a virgin. When she asked how this would happen the angel answered that through the Holy Spirit she would give birth to the Son of God! And our sister Mary responds with such faith saying, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” The emotions she was feeling caused her to well up in praise to God. Who could fully understand what was on her heart at that time? The eternal joy of being chosen by God. The temporary grief of carrying an understanding few others could relate to. She needed to be with family. She immediately went to Elizabeth who was her closest relative and stayed with her for three months. They must have shared their tears and their laughter. They both needed to be with someone they could talk to and share their joy and their grief with, but once again, who could really understand exactly what was on their hearts? We don’t even understand our own hearts, let alone someone else’s heart. What we do know is that we experience both joy and grief in our lives.

Joy is gladness or delight. It lifts us up to great heights. Grief is sorrow that has an equal but opposite effect that can weigh us down. God balances our lives with each in its own season (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Both emotions deeply impact us spiritually and physically.

Joy is a gift received from the Holy Spirit when the gospel is accepted (1Thessalonians 1:6). Joy is given to you as a protectant (see Hebrews 1:9). Joy is a result of loving our Father (Psalms 43:4), and one another (2 Corinthians 7:1-4). A joyful life is what we have been called to (1Thessalonians 5:16). It balances out the effect of grief in our lives, which is inevitable. Joy can bring health to your body and grief can crush you and make you ill.

“…with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” (Ecclesiastes 1:18) Our Jesus was a man well aquainted with sorrows (Isaiah 53). God sends us grief (Lamentations 3:32) and uses it to perfect our faith (1 Peter 1:6)! We need to experience both in the right measure.

God knows our hearts. He knows what we need, what we can bear, and He knows how to supply it! It’s up to us to learn to praise his Holy name in times of joy and in times of grief and sorrow!J


MEMORY VERSE:   Proverbs 14:10  __________________________________________________________________

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MONDAY: Read Proverbs 15:13, 30; and 17:22 and 18:14. What are the results of joy and grief? How do they effect us? Write down some of your observations here. Pray to mature through times of both joy and grief.

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TUESDAY: Read John 15:9-17 and 1 John 1:1-4. The complete joy that we can experience in Christ is the result of fellowship. Who is this fellowship between?

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WEDNESDAY: Read 2 Corinthians 7:2-13. Write down at least one purpose for sorrow or grief from what Paul wrote to the Corinthians. What did the sorrow they experience produce? What is the difference between wordly and godly sorrow?

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THURSDAY: Read 1 Peter 1:3-9 What role does grief and trials play in our faith? What will be the result of our trials if we remain in Christ? In light of these passages we should welcome grief and trials. Pray to God to strengthen you and purify your faith through all your trials and seek to welcome them as opposed to resisting them.

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FRIDAY: Read 2 Corinthians 4 This faith we have been blessed with should result in our speaking (v. 13). We are called to set fourth the truth plainly in times of joy and in times of grief. Verse 15 states clearly that we are the ones who will benefit along with those who have gone before us. Take great encouragement from the Word of God and pass it on!

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J Family Devotional Ideas:

  1. Read Proverbs 15:13 and discuss it with your family. Look through a magazine or some pictures of people’s faces. Ask your children how the people in the pictures might be feeling and why. Talk about how the Lord has made you happy and give some examples. Give some examples of things that make you feel sad as well. Talk about how God uses grief to strengthen your faith in Him!

During these stressful times, we want to offer our prayers and encouragement to any who are interested. Our leaders are available to help, please let us know by emailing info@nulllicoc.org.