Deep Sorrow, Great Joy
The sorrow is so heavy. The grief so sharp. It seems to never end. It is hard to sleep at night. Even harder to breath. The weight is crushing. We think we are the only one to have ever experienced this. We feel like it will never end. Will we ever have joy in our lives again? Why can’t it be like it was before?
But then… then the door cracks just a little. The light of God begins to invade the darkness. The door continues to open a little wider. The light of God begins to fill the room, but not yet. Then…then…then the door opens wide and now the light of God fills the room with brightness. The darkness is gone! The darkness is gone! As dark as the sorrow was, now the rejoicing is even brighter. The pain is gone. Sorrow is gone. The weight has been lifted. Sleep is easy. What happened? The lost one came home.
I wonder if the prodigal’s father felt that way. I wonder if God our Father feels that way. Could it be that this is why the angels rejoice over the return of just one lost soul? Now, the one who was lost is back at home with the Father. It seemed like the sorrow would never end but now the rejoicing is full and will never end. Home in the Father’s arms. Welcomed with a kiss, a robe and a crown. That is awesome!
Maybe this is you. Maybe you have been this prodigal. Maybe you saw yourself cheek to jowl with the hogs and realized eating what pig’s eat is not near as good as sitting at the Father’s table. Your eyes were opened. You could see clearly how far you had wondered from the Father’s arms. You get up and run as fast as you can back to Him. But…will He welcome me home? Something happens. When the Father sees you coming, He runs to meet you. He has been looking. Now He has you home again. Yes, He welcomes you home!
Maybe as a parent you are feeling the weight of a lost child. But then the child comes home, and the weight is lifted. You feel burden-free. I realize not everyone has this experience, but everyone sure wants to. The burden is lifted, and you are filled with overwhelming joy. Your prayers are answered. Your hope has become real. Just like the Father, you want to hold them forever. The tears now are tears of gratitude and joy!
Maybe you are part of a congregation where one who was lost has come back to the fellowship of God’s people. The lost one is saved and restored to the fellowship of God’s people. People line up waiting their turn to embrace and rejoice. As you wait, you remember how God’s grace saved you. Now you see God’s grace in action. Remembering how God’s grace made you whole, you embrace this one filled with joy. You want that one to know the love of God from God’s people.
The day the prodigal came home had to be a day indescribable. If you have ever been a prodigal, you have experienced that. If you know someone who has been a prodigal, you have experienced it. You don’t ever want to forget how it feels to be restored to the Father.