Romans 9:1-5 “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”

In this existence, sorrow comes in many forms. There is no escaping sorrow in this life. Even if there were no sickness, no disease, no pain, no needs based on privations, no struggles, no accidents, and no reverses, sorrow would exist.

“Oh, if I had all my needs met and never experienced physical pain, I would have no sorrow.” Really? Consider just two sorrows.

First is the sorrow produced by the unwise decisions or wasteful choices made by one we care about deeply. All of us experience seeing someone we care about doing or deciding something “dumb.” It is horrible to see one important to us make foolish choices! It is worse than horrible—it is the agony of a torn heart!

Second is the sorrow produced by aging. Picture a lifetime as an hour glass. In youth, there is so much sand in the top that life seems to stretch before you endlessly. When middle age comes, there is no reason for alarm. There is as much sand in top of the glass as at the bottom. Yet, the moment comes when the sand in the bottom is much larger than in the top. Strength diminishes. Energy diminishes. All desires diminish. The gnawing awareness is what “I could do” and what “I can do” are separate discussions. Often in that fact is the regret only sorrow understands.

Good news! There is something much, much larger than human sorrow. It is so big that not even an execution on a cross could end it! It is so huge that not even a tomb could hide it. It is so powerful that it is available to everyone! It is so wonderful that it can make any life endlessly meaningful! Incredibly, it has no age limit on its hope—it is for the old, the young, and all in between!

At the core of this good news is personal transformation. One of today’s advertising campaigns makes an “easy button” a popular concept. This is a superior button—it is the “renewal button.”

In Jesus Christ God provides us opportunity to start over. There is opportunity to become what God intended when He made us. We can be new creatures with new values and new purposes. Those values and purposes are not dependent on physical need, and they do not produce pain. They produce hope arising from the discovery of a new reality. Interested? Read Ephesians 4:17-24 and Colossians 3:1-11.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 2 February 2006

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