“I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy;”2 Timothy 1:3-4
My wife Rebekah loves to see the sun shine in the midst of a good rain as the two typically oppose each other. You often see the dark clouds overhead which block out the sun, but there are times when the sun shines brightly in the midst of a downpour. It is unusual to see the sun shining in the midst of the rain, but the rain typically does not last long after the sun has broken through the clouds. I love cloudy and rainy days, although my wife does not care for them. I believe I love these types of days because we get so many sunny days and the cloudy days are a treat for me.
It does not take long for one to realize that life is not always fair and that some days are better than others, There are days that are filled with happiness and gladness, and there are also days that are filled with pain and sorrow. We can never quite prepare for the days of pain and sorrow, and the days of happiness and gladness seem ever elusive and short-lived. If we choose to look at our current circumstances of life, it may leave us disappointed and depressed. It is true that not everyday is your birthday, and we are sometimes given gifts we do not like. We experience unpleasant things due to our own consequences, the actions of others or simply just because that is what God has allowed us to go through. Unpleasant things can be disruptive and sometimes they require us to deal with life in a new way.
I remember when I was in the eighth grade, and I had become good friends with a new student to our school. We hit it off, and he became part of our group of friends. He had not attended a Christian school before, so I was eager to give him the lay of the land. We talked periodically on the phone, and we even talked over Christmas break. He wrote in my address book his full name, address and phone number. I initially had to refer to this address book to call him, but soon enough I could dial his number by heart. He was intelligent and a good student, so we did not have that in common, but he loved ASU football just like I did. He gave me a Sun Devils hat for Christmas and our friendship was then etched in stone. I don’t remember what I got him, but I cherished the hat he gave me.
On February 26, 1990, my friend was involved in an automobile accident that took the life of him and his mom. He was survived by his baby brother, sister and dad. I remember receiving the news at school, and I felt numb inside. I wanted to cry, but I was not even sure what to do with what I was feeling inside. I was in disbelief about the whole thing, and I felt like my heart had shattered into a million pieces. I did not realize the previous Friday would be the last time I would see him alive. I was not adept at dealing with death, and I bawled like a baby when I got home. As I was part of our school choir, I was forced to sing at his funeral, and we were reminded that my friend had made a profession of faith. I remember singing at his funeral several feet away from his casket and tears filled my eyes as I remembered him on those same school grounds just a week earlier. Although I had tears in my eyes, I was grateful that I would see him one day. I was saying goodbye for now, but I was not saying goodbye forever.
Timothy and Paul more than likely shed these tears when they said goodbye to each other for the last time. Even in death, however, Christians only say goodbye for a short time before they are reunited with each other. Death holds no victory over the Christian, but only serves as a temporary departure. There is joy to be had in our Lord and Savior even though we go through the hardship of life which includes losing the ones we love. The older we get, it seems the more people pass on before us. I am grateful for the tears Paul spoke of in this verse, just as our dear Savior wept over the death of his friend, Lazarus. We may endure sorrow due to the loss of a loved one, but we can still be filled with the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Do you have tears for something that has not gone right in your life? Do you weep over the loss of a dear loved one? There are seasons and times for weeping, and God has given us these emotions just like he displayed them Himself as He walked this earth. As Christians, we have the hope of reunion in heaven, but we still weep over those who have gone on. We can have the joy that only comes from our God even as the tears stream down our face. There is sunshine in the midst of rain, just as there is joy in sorrow. May we find comfort in the God of all comfort, and may we not be ashamed of our tears. Psalm 73:26 states, “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” May He be your portion today.