Have there been times in your life when joy was taken away from you? Someone may have robbed it from you in cleverness; or, something might have done it. Satan, with his tantric, often tries to rob our joy that was of the Lord and may even be successful at times. Daily situations can force us to come out of joy. Bad times are common to us as are to all human beings. What does it mean? It means entering a state of disappointment, sorrow and fear. Life becomes crippled when joy is lost. We become lethargic and disinterested in matters of life that may include family and work. Regardless of our stature, knowledge, wealth and reputation sorrows appear. “But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day” (Mark 2:20).
Jesus says times will come when our joy is robbed. In those days we don’t feel like eating food. In a short parable Jesus reflects the bridegroom as joy. Basically, He is joy and so is His presence. Can joy be taken away from us? Circumstances, Satan’s sifting or an unforeseen situation can take it away from us for a little while or even for a long time, if we fail to act. Jesus uses the language of marriage. Marriage is a joyful occasion. The union of two people indicating marriage is pure joy. “Bridegroom” is the most essential person of it. Fasting indicates sorrow. It appears when there’s no bridegroom. After he leaves the ceremony people feel the loss; they go into a state of disappointment. They do not rejoice as when in his presence. An interesting aspect here is the weddings in those days lasted a week and at times more. So, we can get a sense of the bridegroom’s importance.
We have all lost joy by inhibitions, whether intentional or unintentional. It was there and then suddenly disappeared. How do you remember getting it back? Did you even try? What steps did you take to get it back? Were the steps godly or worldly? These questions come into perspective if you want to restore joy in your life. First, you are to be aware of what you lost. For this you must be doing the following. “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Luke 7:35). A comforting factor is Jesus knows you will face fasting days and is ready to help you. With times of losing joy you can also wear out sorrows to obtain joy. And you must be in the act of vindicating wisdom. It takes a traveling for it, which is the knowledge of Christ through various experiences. The basic experience is obtaining Him as the Savior for all times. It happens at receiving salvation.
If one is a child of God’s wisdom, i.e. he or she is being nourished by it, meaning they have a personal relationship with God, they will perfectly justify wisdom. They seek it to know the entire working mechanism of their sorrows. One has to justify God’s wisdom in times of sadness. What people usually do when they lose joy is make up their own mind regarding it. It is worldly and fails to retrieve joy. And if they find joy, they see it lasting only for a little while as something else arises to cut it off. Life becomes a maze for them in pursuit of unconquerable joy. Before they know it a great amount of time will have passed without it. So, they learn to seek life with a pinch of salt. They can never say “God will take care” and move on; they are not privy to such courage. With Jesus’ statement on wisdom that pinch of salt is not needed. Once we maintain wisdom the base for irrevocable joy is laid. We further understand that God sometimes allows sorrows in order to help us see greater joy.
Justifying wisdom in times of sorrow is an art of retrieving joy. Jesus never said sorrows will disappear once we believe in Him. In fact, sorrows appear and at times increase with knowing Him. But their advent can always lead to perfect joy. He can turn our sorrows into joy. No matter their number and no matter in how many ways they come, as we vindicate wisdom, He turns them all into joy. It is what He does and how! When Herod had James killed and saw it pleased the Jews, he arrested Peter too for the same. “And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword” (Acts 12:2). In such situation there was nothing the church could do expect urgently seek God’s intervention. Since they were vindicating wisdom, they quickly justified it at that time. They offered fervent prayers and Peter was miraculously saved. Do you wish to see miracles in your life? Be a child of wisdom. So, what more includes vindicating wisdom? It is doing all things with Christ in perspective no matter your condition. It is a rather difficult proposition, but when you compare your sorrow to it, it may not be all that overwhelming. Paul said, “He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God” (Rom. 14:6). And, an equally important aspect is ‘giving thanks to God.’ You see, vindicating wisdom alone helps you do it. To those who don’t, they lose the plot!
You need to obtain joy, so you vindicate wisdom. What does this further hold and help you achieve? It is this: “And do not give the devil an opportunity” (Eph. 4:27). Once you begin understanding your sorrows you are growing spiritually. It means increasing difficulty for Satan to trip you. You will be able to see the direction of his attacks and since your sorrows beckon you for joy, you display determination to defy him. Growing spiritually indicates closing in on joy. After overcoming sorrows you will still be left with the insurmountable wisdom regarding him to keep the joy that gives peace. It is the lack of this event that many remain in sorrows; for they keep giving the devil a chance to enter their mind.
The final and major action is pleading God to turn your sorrows into joy. This is a must not only that you should overcome sorrows, but also to bear and work through them. You need to be strengthened. “In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety” (Heb. 5:7). The Scripture says Jesus was heard not by any reason, but by His piety. If you are justified by wisdom, you can be pious, and God hears you. In Jesus’ case, He was saved from death. Yet, he died on the cross. The beauty of this verse is it refers to His resurrection from the dead. As God said, He was kept alive, i.e. He did not remain in death. This is the true wisdom of this verse. Jesus recovered His joy. So, when He prayed, God promised to bring Him to life while strengthening Him. Thus, He had to die for a short time and live again. Sometimes God wants you to face sorrows and then saves you. You understand it by continuing to vindicate wisdom. So, don’t panic. God will do what He said. If He promises to save you, He will, but in His way. Now, keep offering those prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears imposed by sorrows. While some discourage and ridicule such offering, ignore them. It is their inexperience. They either don’t know how to handle sorrows or worse, they came across them, but did not choose to become children of wisdom. Praying is an essential aspect. You will know as you see it giving power to vindicate wisdom and inner strength to withstand sorrow. John knew it. He said, “Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2). He knew it works to the extent that he even prayed for his brethren. So, when you lose joy, know there’s a way to find it.