She said, “ I know you have a gospel for the poor, the hurting, the unhappy; do you have a gospel for the happy?”
I know we have a gospel for those weighed down with sins; do we have a gospel for those who aren’t burdened down with sins?
Is our gospel only one of assurance for the fearful, a promise of future deliverance to the captives and the oppressed; is it pretty much summarized in the consoling old and sad hymn, “We’ll understand it better by and by?
Are there no marvelous friendships in the world? No loving parents and happy children? Are there no jobs that bring in a good wage and re a pleasure to turn up for? Are there no comfortable homes, beds that insist on giving you a great night’s sleep, no delicious food, no clean water, no parks, happy rivers, pleasant surroundings–all those and more that make life pleasant?
Of course we hear Jesus say, “If you’re weary and heavy laden come unto me and I will give you rest.” And there was the time (Luke 4) when he said he had come to free prisoners, to heal broken hearts, to deliver people from demonic bondage and to give sight to the blind, unhappy, sad and overburdened souls. We don’t need to apologize for such a gospel; He didn’t! He saw multitudes like sheep without shepherds and He had compassion on them. But is that the entire story? Can you ever imagine Jesus saying, “Come to me if you’re energetic, happy and not a prisoner of besetting sins and I will give you a commission to match your blessedness?” Is He always offering consolation and never challenge? We never hear Him saying, I want you to enjoy your friends and your families and all the blessings that come your way in life—these are gifts from my Father!”
We experience sadness at the death of our beloved ones—and we won’t apologize for it. But we will not live as victims of death.
We refuse to be the prisoners of disease, old age, terminal wards, hospice care or old cemeteries! Nor despite our tears will we think of our beloved ones as slaves of any of these.
(Oh you mysterious, wondrous God and Father of mankind, thank you for making us conquerors in Jesus Christ come what may. This prayer in His name.)