Joy Tied to Good Outcome
Another problem in this sermon is that the experience of joy was tied to a good outcome in this world. The one who lost a child now has another one. Setting aside the problematic and incorrect thought that one child could replace another, the joy comes from a good outcome down here. The person should be happy because they got a better job down here. They should be happy because they got hooked up down here.
We live in an era where the Christian life is about getting hooked up. But the reality is that we don’t always get hooked up down here. Ask Paul who never had the thorn in his flesh taken away, even though he greatly desired it to be removed (2 Corinthians 12:8-9).
The simple fact of the matter is that sometimes Grandma will die. Sometimes we will lose our job. Sometimes bad things will happen. We cannot in our preaching give the impression that good will always win in the end “down here.” Sometimes the wicked prosper and the righteous languish. Sometimes the fornicating pastor gets the big church and the faithful one gets fired from his modest one. Yes it is true, you may not get that house. It is not guaranteed to you.
Importance of Incarnation
The realities of this thought makes the incarnation even more important. Jesus didn’t sidestep the pains of this life to live in a lap of luxury. Jesus came and lived amongst us all. He didn’t sidestep the experience of the poor. Then Jesus died and even felt betrayed by God, which wrenched from his lips the cry “My God My God Why … ?” (Matthew 27:46).
The good news is not that we do not have to have pain. The good news is that Jesus is there with us in the pain. The good news is that Jesus helps us to endure the pain. And the Good news, yes, is that Jesus overcame the worst that life can give and now offers that to us. Yes we will have pain in this world, but we have someone to walk with us, talk with us and to tell us that we are his own. Yes we will have pain in this world, Jesus has overcome the world. And yes it is still true, “weeping may endure for a night … but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).