At first glance, sorrow and joy appear contradictory and incompatible of occupying the same sentence. Yet, Apostle Paul’s epistle to Corinthians proclaimed afflictions lead to joy. He spoke of a godly sorrow (for sin) that produces repentance and a renewed relationship with God (2 Corinthians 7:10). Joy, on the other hand, teems with exultant or pleasant emotion expressing delight. Many kinds of bliss are reported in the Bible including gladness, contentment and cheerfulness. Consequently, the enjoyment of a Christ follower indicates holiness and purity. This kind of jubilant pleasure rises above circumstances and focuses on the very character of our Lord. When disastrous events happen, Paul taught believers to ‘not be offended’ by them.
“…in much patience, tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fasting…by long suffering…as unknown and yet well known, as dying and behold we live, as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6:3-10).
Wow. What a high standard to live up to! Among many others, Paul exemplified how much a child of God can suffer without being defeated or broken in spirit. It’s a common misunderstanding that once a person believes upon Jesus Christ, the journey will be easy. In actual fact, the way is filled with tumultuous strife. Within Paul’s writings we see God’s pattern for our own lives; indeed, it is through these very trials and temptations that faith is perfected. Even though God’s promises and provisions are true, we’re exposed to hurtful troubles due to the world’s broken condition. This we do know. As Christians, we are one with Him permanently (John 17:21). God will never leave nor forsake His children and nothing can separate us from Him (Romans 8:39).
After Paul’s long list of horrendous miseries (labors more abundant, stripes above measure, prisons, deaths, lashings, stoned, stranded in open seas, burden of churches) he ended on a high note glorifying God! “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17 NKJV).