TODAY'S WORD FOR Friday, October 13, 2017:
Deep mental anguish; deep sorrow; painful regret.
Who comforts us in all our tribulation (grief), that we may be able to comfort those who are in trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God II Corinthians 1:4.
Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. Ecclesiastes 7:3.
KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:
One of the most difficult experiences that one faces in life is the death of a family member or a close friend or acquaintance. We have experienced this several times in our immediate family losing dearly loved family members including our parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, a daughter-in-law and a nephew. The cause of the sorrow that comes with death is grief. We have experienced that the grief for one who has died knowing Jesus is entirely different from one who does not know Jesus.
As a minister we have witnessed, first hand, both situations. When a Christian is grieving for a person who never knew Jesus, the grief includes personal feelings as to whether you did all you could to see that that person knew the Lord. If that person never accepted Jesus as his or her Savior they will spend an eternity separated from God.
But when a believer dies, we as believers have the assurance that they are in a far better place. They are with their Lord and Savior in their heavenly home and we have the blessed hope of spending an eternity in heaven with them.
Job lost all his children and in his time of deepest grief he saw his Lord as never before. In Job 42:5 Job said “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see You.”
In first reading the verse above from Ecclesiastes it is hard to understand how the writer could say, “Sorrow is better than laughter.” There is a lot for us to learn from this passage. Sometimes we only learn through grief. There is wisdom to be learned in sorrow that is not experienced from carefree times of pleasure. The writer of Ecclesiastes teaches us that sorrow does a work in one’s heart that will make one a better person in the Lord. It is in times of grief that we need Jesus the most.
Isaiah describes Jesus as “a man of sorrows intimately acquainted with grief. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isaiah 53:4). Jesus was perfect and without sin, yet He came to bear the consequences of the sins of all mankind and to bear all of our griefs and sorrows. How blessed every believer is to have such a wonderful Savior.
We have traveled to many areas of our world and have seen suffering and grief that has moved us to tears but what we have learned through these many experiences is that God used sorrow and grief to soften our hearts so that we would be more sensitive to the needs of the suffering. It taught us to pray for those living in sorrow and made us aware of a hurting world that Jesus died for. God wants each of us to remember that in times of grief and sorrow He is in control and is our comforter and He wants us to be available to comfort others in their time of need as Paul wrote in the above verse from II Corinthians 1:4.
Our memory verse for this week is found in Hebrews 13:8.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Help me today to be an encouragement to anyone that is facing grief and sorrow. Give me an opportunity to remind them that when all seems to be lost that they have not lost You. Help me to remember that I can learn more from sorrow than from laughter.
These Family Devotional thoughts are written by Dr. Ken Phillips, Executive Director of America's Hunger
Solution and Ministry Director for World Bible Society, and his wife Dottie. Ken has had ministry positions
with The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, World Vision, Youth For Christ, World Opportunities International,
and World Bible Society. He also has consulted for more than 30 Christian ministries in management and stewardship
development. They have published a book called No Problems Only Situations that discusses the journey of their family.
Ken and Dottie have been married for 60 years, and have 6 children, 20 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. Their
second book, TODAY'S WORD, includes 365 daily
devotionals and is now available for only $10.
Ken & Dottie Phillips
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