Friday, January 8, 2010

The Unhappy Life and the Happy Life

Positive thinking is good but some have found their lot in life to be that mostly of affliction, and almost of necessity they can not seem to attain too high of a degree in such thinking. Take Job for example, "If I say, 'I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,' I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent" (Job 9:27,28). What extreme torment of both soul and body Job was in! His condition was so severe that he loathed his very life "I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul (Job 10:1). His sufferings great as they were cannot compare with the sufferings of our Lord. "For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings" Hebrews 2:10).

On the other hand there are those that almost find themselves out to be the very exapmpe to Paul's exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 5:16, "Rejoice evermore." What a mystery that one should suffer while another does not in proportional comparison! What moderation and balance of thought and emotions must we keep! For the one it is seemingly impossible to keep up a Christian smile while for the other they may be at the very risk of thinking they are innocent when they are not. Paul, Peter, and James knowing how greatly and overwhelmingly pained one can be by persecution and sufferings were able to find with the aid of the Holy Spirit comfort and even happiness inspite of all of the bad things that happened to them as well as to other Christians. It is true that there can be peace obtained and even rejocing during hardships of Christians, while they undergo the threat of or actual outward persecution, bodily infermities, and spiritual torments.
What torment some saints go through wrestling with this perdiciment they find themselves in that they are to rejoice evermore!

So let us with job cautiously not forget that we are not innocent before God but at the same time have faith with Paul and "reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18). There is place for a smile here! And with James let us "count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations" (James 1:2). And with Peter let us "rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy" (1 Peter 4:13).