Mournful joy

“…my eyes overflow with tears”
Jeremiah 14:17

Gordon Rumford Ministries - Daily Devotional - Mournful joyToday I received a distressing email from far away. A very dear friend of mine who is young enough to be my son had the angel of death invade his home and remove his beloved wife and the mother of his children. For some months we had been praying for her as she bravely fought her illness. Alas the country where they reside does not have the advanced medical help we enjoy here. She needed more than could be given and so left us.

As I read the news I found my eyes fill up with tears for the motherless children and the grieving husband. I recalled that the husband had already lost a wife through death so it seemed especially difficult for him to bear this burden again. Being so far away from him compounded my grief as I could not travel to be with him and share his burden.

Then a conflicting thought came to my mind as I reflected on his sorrow and as I prayed for comfort for him and the family. I started to recall all that I had read in the Bible about what is waiting for God’s people when they enter the presence of the Lord.

Psalm 16:11 reads, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (NIV). How could I possibly want to have someone come back from that incredible glory to this sorrow filled world? This young mother and wife was now truly living. She was in perfect happiness and joy. She had never been so blessed in all her days.

This was the conflict in my mind as I thought about this young family. Obviously there was a great desire to have the family circle intact. It seemed that death had robbed the family of a most precious person. The ones she left behind in the home are going to do more weeping that I will. But on the other hand death had gifted the one it took with glory, peace and joy that nothing nor anyone in this life could ever give.

Jesus’ eyes overflowed with tears at the tomb of His beloved Lazarus (John 11:17-44). He surveyed the carnage that death left behind in the sorrow of Lazarus’s family and friends and He wept. People commented at the scene of Jesus weeping that He must have loved Lazarus greatly. Indeed He did. But perhaps some of those tears were shed that day over the fact that Jesus was about to call Lazarus back from heaven into this sin cursed world.

What must have gone through Lazarus’s mind as he was brought back to this world after experiencing the glories of the next world?  There can be no doubt that his preference would have been to stay in heaven. Yet the will of God comes before our own and we bow in submission to what God ordains for us.

So I have mournful joy at the news that came today. I greatly grieve for my dear and beloved friend and children. “My eyes overflow with tears” as the verse today states. Yet there is a note of victory for me as I focus my attention on the one who has gone before. I rest in the truth that for her it has been the most wonderful experience in her entire life. Now she truly lives as she has gone from this shadow land to the real world that goes on forever with more and greater joys than anything in this life affords. So I say of this follower of Jesus, “Go in peace and walk with God.”

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