Keep your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for the reward for your work will come... there is a hope for your future...
Jeremiah 31 :16-17
It still takes me aback when I realise that I am not the centre of the Universe. I was born convinced that this was true and everything I did was based on this fact. But then life happened, and I began to see that not everyone realised this glaringly obvious truth. So I relented and consoled myself that at least God knew the truth. Surely He was there to bless me and give me all the happiness I deserved! This started very well, the little glitches were my lack of faith or understanding. But then life continued happening... I started to realise that something was very wrong and God was not co-operating. There was something very wrong with either me or God and it still seems to be taking a very long time to concede that it's not God.
Tim Keller says "If you seek happiness first and righteousness second you will get neither, if you seek righteousness first you will get both". God is not a slot machine to make us feel happy and fulfilled as some Christian teachers would have us believe, but a God who wants to use us to bless others and a God who wants to use us to fulfill His purposes, not ours. He does this any way He can, through things we rejoice in and things we weep over, through times in the blessing and times in the desert, through things we can get our heads around and things we can only shake our heads at.
In this Holy Week we can remember that He demonstrated this perfectly in Jesus. This is the model for us. Jesus lived totally other centered through His love for us and His obedience to His Father. He was a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering Isa 53:3 It is only there in self surrender that we too can find true happiness, and ultimately find that true reward that God alone can give through His immense grace, and what a reward Jesus received!
I don't believe that God is saying through Jeremiah that we shouldn't weep, but that we should not be tempted to despair when tough times come. This is par for the course and to be expected and as the book of James says, to be rejoiced in! I am a very, very long way from this but I know it's true because I see it in the Bible and I see it in real life. I am painfully aware that I can write all this and still be tempted to despair when I come up against something that He really needs to sort out now. Let's pray for each other during this special week, that we can fully see the example of Jesus and have our hearts set on the hope we have in Him and the reward that is set before us. Blessings.