LIFE’S PRESSURES can take its toll on even the toughest and bravest of men. No matter how hard one tries to keep a positive outlook, there are times when frustration, fear, and sorrow predominate—turning smiles of joy into tears of sorrow. For God’s faithful servants, however, there is always enough reason to be glad and hopeful despite all the sad and uncertain things they go through. As Apostle Paul said on behalf of his fellow Christians:
“We are always happy, even in times of suffering. … And though we own nothing, everything is ours.” (II Cor. 6:10 Contemporary English Version)
What accounts for such a happy disposition? Who and what give true members of the Church Of Christ reason to be glad and full of joy?
God and the salvation He gave
Above all else, God is the ultimate source of joy of His faithful servants. As Isaiah the prophet said:
“I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation …” (Isa. 61:10 New International Version)
Members of the Church Of Christ can relate well to such statement because they, too, have been “clothed” by God with salvation when they were baptized into Christ as parts or members of His body or the Church that He will save (Gal. 3:27; I Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:23). Hence, even if they lack in many things in this world, they still feel complete, knowing that they have found favor with God. Having been brought by Him to “the kingdom of His beloved Son” where there is redemption from sin (Col. 1:12-14), they can say with confidence, “We are always happy, even in times of need. Though we own nothing, we have everything.” For, as God’s Book says:
“There are [those] that make themselves rich, yet [have] nothing: [there are those] that make themselves poor, yet [have] great riches. The redemption of a man’s life [is] his riches …” (Prov. 13:7-8 Jubilee Bible)
Christ and the home He promised
Having Jesus Christ as their Savior, the members of His Church find comfort and inspiration in Him and in His promise of eternal happiness:
“I am telling you the truth: you will cry and weep, but the world will be glad; you will be sad, but your sadness will turn into gladness. … That is how it is with you: now you are sad, but I will see you again, and your hearts will be filled with gladness, the kind of gladness that no one can take away from you.” (John 16:20-22 Good News Bible)
While it is clear to them that life in this world comes with sorrow and grief, the faithful Christians do not drench themselves in misery. Though troubles come sweeping them off their feet, they rise up and carry on, looking forward to the genuine and unending joy that awaits them when the Lord Jesus Christ returns (I Pet. 4:13). Such a happy, peaceful life they will enjoy throughout eternity in the home He prepares for them:
“Don’t be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:1-3 New Living Translation)
God’s commands and the reward for obeying them
What further give joy to God’s people despite their problems in life are His commandments. As King David stated:
“Trouble and hardship have found me, but Your commandments still make me happy.” (Ps. 119:143 God’s Word)
God’s servants take pleasure in hearing and learning the truth of God’s words from His messenger and the administration He placed in His Church (Col. 1:25 Holman Christian Standard Bible).
More than simply listening, they obey and put into practice God’s commands (James 1:25 GNB), such as sharing the faith, giving offerings, and performing other Church duties. They allow no obstacle to prevent them from fulfilling what God wants them to do, for, they know that patient endurance is necessary in order for them to continue to do God’s will and thus, receive His promises (Heb. 10:36). God’s promises to His obedient servants include blessings even in this life:
“Happy are those who obey the LORD, who live by his commands. Your work will provide for your needs; you will be happy and prosperous. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine in your home, and your children will be like young olive trees around your table. A man who obeys the LORD will surely be blessed like this.” (Ps. 128:1-4 GNB)
The Lord’s house and the comfort of worshiping in it
Coming to the house of the Lord to praise and worship God brings gladness to His people:
“I rejoiced with those who said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD.” … That is where the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, to praise the name of the LORD according to the statute given to Israel.” (Ps. 122:1-4 NIV)
This is also the experience of the members of the Church Of Christ in these last days. They find joy and comfort in gathering together, singing hymns, and offering prayers to God inside the house of worship, for, it is the place God chose and consecrated where He promised to hear the prayers of His people:
“… I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually. … Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place.” (II Chr. 7:16, 15 NKJV)
The Savior Jesus Christ also assured His disciples that whenever they gather in His name, He shall be with them through the Holy Spirit He will send from the Father to help, comfort, and guide them (Matt. 18:20; John 14:26; 15:26).
Thus, their earnest desire and constant longing is to dwell in the house of the Lord, to seek Him in His temple all the days of their life (Ps. 27:1). They always look forward to the consoling experience of worshiping God, especially in trying times:
“I’m on a diet of tears—tears for breakfast, tears for supper.
All day long people knock at my door, Pestering, “Where is this God of yours?” These are the things I go over and over, emptying out the pockets of my life. I was always at the head of the worshiping crowd, right out in front, Leading them all, eager to arrive and worship, Shouting praises, singing thanksgiving—celebrating, all of us, God’s feast! Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” (Psalms 42:3-5 The Message)
Ready for the worst, hoping for the best
While the harsh realities of living in the world serve as an excuse for others to feel sad, the truth of God’s words gives His people plenty of reasons to be glad. Aware that the life they have now is short and full of trouble, the faithful servants of God are ready for the worst while hoping for the best: Ready for the worst, because things can only get even more difficult as the end of the world nears. Hoping for the best, because what awaits them is something much better—the greatest reward of all—and so, they remain glad and never become discouraged, no matter what:
“For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever. … For this reason we never become discouraged. Even though our physical being is gradually decaying, yet our spiritual being is renewed day after day. And this small and temporary trouble we suffer will bring us a tremendous and eternal glory, much greater than the trouble.” (II Cor. 4:16-18 GNB)