Acts 18: 9-18 / Ps 47: 2-7
Amen, Amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.
Is your life now filled with sorrow?
Don’t dwell in anguish and complain;
Just be patient, for tomorrow
Joy and peace will be yours again.
“Amen, Amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in pain, because her hour has arrived. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the pain because of the joy of having brought a child into the world. So you also are in anguish now. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name, He will give it to you.” (John 16: 20-23)
Have you ever wondered how close you are to God, especially to your Savior, Jesus Christ? When were you closer to Him, was it in times of joy and merriment, or in times of trouble and suffering? I believe it is when we are desperately in need of help that we are closest to God, especially when we are begging for a miracle, as in the case of those who sought our Lord Jesus in the Gospel narratives. Because of their strong faith, they all became close to Jesus, and He lovingly granted their supplications. The Roman centurion was a non-believer, a Gentile, and yet he came to Jesus for help because he believed Jesus could heal his servant. “Say only the word, and my servant will be healed.” Jesus told His followers, “I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith” (Mt.8:8-10). Jairus, an official in the synagogue, believed that Jesus could heal his daughter, and so did a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for 12 years, who had faith that by merely touching the cloak of Jesus she would be healed (Mk.5:21-42); both of their prayers were granted. The Canaanite woman, another Gentile, who was at first rejected by Jesus and His apostles, boldly pleaded with the Lord to drive a demon from her daughter (by His mere words), saying, “Even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from their master’s table.” Moved by her faith and humility, Jesus told her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish” (Mt.15:22-28).
Clearly, we can see that it is by our faith in His goodness and power that we are drawn closer to the Lord our God. And it is usually when we find ourselves in dire straits that we remember to call on a greater power as our source of last resort. Our troubles and problems in life may also be God’s way of bringing us to our moral senses. They may only be God’s way of disciplining us for our own good. Proverbs 3:11-12 says, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent His rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, as a father the son he delights in.” The same wisdom we find in the letter to the Hebrews, which says, “My son, do not disdain the Lord’s discipline, or lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and punishes every son He acknowledges. Endure hardship as discipline; for what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined, in which all have shared, you are not sons but bastards… we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. Should we not submit all the more to the Father of spirits and live? Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness. At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb.12:5-11). These words should be enough to make us rejoice in spirit even in the midst of our suffering.
Dear God, we believe that ultimately, all the pains and troubles that we experience in this life will be for our own eternal benefit, because we trust You fully as a loving Father Who only wants the best for His children. Sustain our faith, Father, that we may overcome all the trials that we face in our life. Amen.