24th June 2020

The Freedom to Laugh and the Courage to Cry

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
Romans 12:15 (NIV)

These are hard times in our world. Hundreds of thousands around the world have died in the last few months from the coronavirus, and the numbers keep climbing. Who among us does not know of someone who has succumbed to this disease? Then we watch the news on TV, and the scale of the anguish around the world staggers our imaginations; it is too much to comprehend. Many of the stories are heart-breaking. Maybe their stories have brought tears to your eyes, with children left parentless, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives, sisters and brothers gone forever. I go out into my little garden to think things over and the flowers are blooming, the trees are verdant, the birds are singing and the bees are buzzing. Later a friend rings me and we laugh together, but then I feel guilty that at such a time I can still laugh.

We don’t know the mind of God, or what his purpose is in allowing all this, but we can partner with Christ as he shows us the way he lived in a broken world, without becoming completely overwhelmed. We are told Christ was, “…a man of suffering, and familiar with pain…” (Isaiah 53:3). Then in Hebrews 2:18 we read, “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” Indeed in Hebrews 5:8 we are told, “Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered.” In this we get a glimpse at least of one of God’s purposes – to bring us to complete obedience and trust in him.

God in Christ was not asking us to do anything he himself was not willing to do. In the Gospels we have instances of the way he handled life’s sorrows and joys. Christ knew sorrow at the death of a friend, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35), and he grieved over Jerusalem, (Matthew 23:37). He also had times of gladness, “At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children’” (Luke 10:21). Jesus, who carried the weight of the sins and sorrows of the world, knew the hope that things would ultimately be put right, “For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross,” (Hebrews 12:2). Indeed, in this life, he is the one who most empathises with us in our times of sorrow and our times of joy. He encourages us to laugh and cry, without guilt, as our Scripture header instructs.

Prayer
Father, we pray that your Spirit would give us the ability to mourn with those who mourn, and laugh with those laugh, through your Son, Jesus Christ.
Amen

Study by Christina Campbell
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About the Author:
Christina Campbell attends the Glasgow congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK, where she is an occasional speaker and Bible Study facilitator.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Glasgow
St Stevens Presbytery
(Garnethill Room)
260 Bath Street
GLASGOW
G2 4JP

Meeting time:
Sunday 11:15am

Local Congregational Contact:
Ian Smillie
Phone: 01505 348758
Email: glasgow@gracecom.church