“Blessed are you who weep now, because you will laugh (Luke 6:21).

We might call this the blessing no one wants.
It is a paradox and a mystery.

Jesus promises that those who weep now will laugh later. That sounds good, but when do we get to the laughter part?

We have a long list of friends who live in the first part of this verse. One friend struggles because her cancer has come back. Another friend has children who have become prodigals. Another friend tries to find her way after her husband unexpectedly died a year ago.

Such is life in a fallen world.

Suffering turns us to the Lord as nothing else can. Perhaps you’ve heard it said this way, “You never know if Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. But when Jesus is all you have, then and only then will you discover that Jesus really is all you need.” Recently we received a letter from a prisoner named Monica, who said,

I finished reading An Anchor for the Soul, and I am about to begin reading it again. I truly believe I have been blessed by the situation I am currently in. Because of it, I know I have gained eternal life with Jesus. If I had not been arrested, I doubt I would have ever come to know Jesus as I do now.

Prison is not “good” in the normal sense of the word, but going to prison can be good if it causes us to turn to the Lord. So it is with all the troubles, difficulties and afflictions of life. We pray more, and we pray more fer­vently during a time of crisis because we know if God doesn’t help us, we’re sunk. God allows hard things to happen to his children to get our attention focused completely on him.

Even in the most difficult moments, God’s people can rejoice because he is at work doing something important in them. More than one person has said to me, “I wouldn’t trade my pain for the things God has shown me.” If that doesn’t make sense to you, it is only because you haven’t been there yet.

God is good, and his mercy endures forever. He proved it by sending his Son. Christmas is God’s guarantee the darkness won’t last forever and that someday God will wipe all our tears away. Meanwhile, we press on, waiting for the happy laughter of heaven.

Chin up, child of God. The best is yet to come!

My God, thank you for hope that death cannot destroy. Thank you for Jesus because his coming changed everything. Amen.

Musical bonus: While researching this project, I stumbled upon the most stunning Christmas song I’ve ever heard. It carries the unlikely title of O Come, All You Unfaithful, but it is filled with the Good News of Jesus.

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