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November 9 – The sadness of life

“When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and troubled . . . Jesus wept . . . Then Jesus, deeply moved again . . .” – John 11:33-38

Scripture reading: 2 Kings 4:17-28

We are given a concise biography. The boy grows, and goes out with his father. Gladness! Then the boy becomes ill, is carried homesick, sits on his mother’s lap until noon, and dies. Sadness! The fact that this pain came as a result of God’s gift makes it sharper. Notice her words in v. 28. What kind of God is He? She feels deceived. Wouldn’t it have been easier if God hadn’t given her a son in the first place? Some of you have even experienced this scenario so often that every time you receive a gift you wait for the inevitable grief to come.

What do we say to this? Shunning easy answers that require us to deny that we have real sorrow, that we taste bitterness, we can say a couple of things. The bitterness of our life is because of the fall. The refrain of Genesis 5 is echoed in v. 20: ‘and then he died.’ This is more grievous because it is the death of a young boy. But the point remains the same. It is because of the curse of sin. Remember Jesus at Lazarus’ grave? Sin has wreaked havoc on God’s good creation. And we lament.

But we need to say more. Remember, she is being rewarded. The Lord is good in all His ways. He is too wise to be mistaken and too good to be unkind. Satan is the one who paints God as parsimonious and nasty. Faith sees God as gracious and kind even in the trials of life.

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for your brothers and sisters who are going through deep trials that God would show them His tender compassion and that they would see His goodness. Pray for the persecuted Church whose persecution comes precisely because of the gift of God’s grace to them.

Reverend John van Eyk has served as Senior Pastor of Trinity Reformed Church (United Reformed) in Lethbridge, Alberta since 2017.

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