Wednesday, March 25, 2009

John Piper: Sorrow and Joy

So many times in the Christian life, i find it hard to balance the sorrow of the world, and the joy of a unshakable hope in Christ. For example, i took Julie out to El Capitan theatre in Hollywood to celebrate our year of dating. We had a marvelous time. The evening's entertainment included variations on disney themes by a live world-class organist on a giant Wurlitzer Theatre organ, drinks and popcorn, a pre-show live performance, and an ice cream sunday at the next door at the "Disney Soda Fountain". The evening was thoroughly enjoyed by both of us.
Yet, while we were gleefully homeward bound from West Hollywood, called Westwood, we shared an overwhelming sense of sorrow for the great and rampant sin that characterizes so much of the westwood. We conversed about the state of our culture for almost the entire ride home. It still grieves me to think of the pervasiveness of the immoral Hollywood influence worldwide, and that it grieves the very heart of God. John Piper has this to say about conflicting joy and sorrow,

"Or to put it positively, the seasoned soul in Christ has a steady joy and a steady sorrow. They protect each other. Joy is protected from being flippant by steady sorrow. Sorrow is protected from being fatal by steady joy. And they intensify each other. Joy is made deeper by steady sorrow. Sorrow is made sweeter by steady joy."

Yet, i must admit, i do not have the most mature view of sorrow and joy. My reaction, sometimes flippant or demeaning, reveals my sinful heart. I am greatly encouraged by this article posted on by John Piper because i want to be this solid and legit.

There is no more solid faith than the one constantly abiding in Him while turned over by life's unrelenting waves of sorrow and joy. Sorrow and joy are two of God's most effective graces in the lives of his children. so many godly men i admire are caught in the restraint of these dueling passions, and their lives embody the steadfastness of God's loving kindness.

I pray the Lord will bring refining sorrow and joy for you all.

Let your loving kindness, Oh God, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Psalm 33:22