Laughing and Crying Alone

No Place for Truth
David Wells

Given the increasing number of television sets in American homes and the divergent tastes of viewers, Americans more frequently watch their sets alone.  As television discloses its intimacies and drama to these viewers, inviting a response, they are left to sigh or laugh or shout or cry alone in the company of the nonresponsive machine.

Why does man feel so sad in the twentieth century?  Why does man feel so bad in the very age when, more than in any other age, he has succeeded in satisfying his needs and making the world over for his own use?

– Walker Percy

Beauty for Ashes

[1] The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
[2] to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
[3] to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.
[4] They shall build up the ancient ruins;
they shall raise up the former devastations;
they shall repair the ruined cities,
the devastations of many generations.

– Isaiah 61:1-4

Complete Joy

[3] that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. [4] And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

– 1 John 1:3-4

[1] My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

– 1 John 2:1

The Apostle John writes as a father to his children. When you consider your children or your future children, what do you want for them? Safety, security, success? Not to have to deal with pain and suffering? I think ultimately, we want all these things but more so we want for our children joy.

Like a good father, John wants his spiritual children to have joy. But there is no joy in a forgiveness that is nothing more than permission to sin. There is no joy in a God that’s just a ticket out of hell or a faith that’s a way to be better than other people.

Joy is found in true fellowship with God the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit. and with other believers.

Genesis 21

[1] The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised. [2] And Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age at the time of which God had spoken to him. [3] Abraham called the name of his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore him, Isaac. [4] And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. [5] Abraham was a hundred years old when his isaac3son Isaac was born to him. [6] And Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” [7] And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

– Genesis 21:1-7

In Genesis 18, the Lord promised Abraham that Sarah would bear him a son. At 89 years old, Sarah found the whole idea ridiculous and laughed to herself. In remembrance of this incident, Abraham and Sarah name their miraculous child, Isaac, which means “he laughs.” Sarah declares that God has made laughter for her and all who hear of it will laugh as well. The goodness of God to his people is ridiculous. His promises are beyond too good to be true.  May we consider how many times He has been better to us than we would ever have imagined.