(March 23, 2023) S. Sam Selva Raj encourages… and strongly challenges.
‘Your sorrow will be turned into joy!
Your sorrows and tears will pass away,
Do not be dismayed son, nor be dismayed daughter,
Our Jesus will not forsake you.
‘Don’t be disheartened thinking of the past; forget the past that happened,
God will do a new thing; you will see even today, today itself!
Do not be disheartened; yes, do not be disheartened,
Our Lord God will not forsake you.
‘God heals the broken hearted; He supports the bruised;
Binds all the wounds, wipes our tears; yes, He wipes your tears.
Do not be disheartened, do not be dismayed;
God will not forsake you.
‘He will not allow you to be tested beyond your strength;
Gives you the needed strength; He will show you a way out, yes, a way out!
Do not be disheartened, do not be dismayed;
He will not forsake you.’
What divine truths in the above song by Fr. S.J. Berchmans, song evangelist of Jebathottam Ministries.
Sorrow can be turned to joy!
This truth links with the promise that God will never forsake us, whatever our sorrow may be (Hebrews 13:5). In trusting Him, they will be turned into joy! (John 16:20bNKJV).
Lately, I’ve met people from various backgrounds and nations. Among them scholars, doctors, politicians, officers, industrialists, rich people, common and middle-class people, less educated, students, tourists, pilgrims, merchants, actors, consultants, writers, people without God, and God-fearing people who call themselves believers and servants of God.
I learned of different kinds of difficulties and struggles that have rocked those who do not know God! Burdened by dismay and disheartenment many such troubled people visit various pilgrim centres around the world searching for answers, some seeking God.
Looking for answers, some people even do things that they do not fully understand… such as undergoing penance for many days in preparation of their visit to certain pilgrim centres. Among God-fearing good people, it is traditions and culture, rather than fully trusting our Lord, that stands as a barrier to receiving true deliverance!
Needed: Christ’s resurrection power
Some troubled souls have even visited us at Echo of His Call Ministries, soliciting prayer. Now I neither belittle nor ridicule them… but oh I see the vacuum in them and how I want to help! (Can you see this hunger in such people… do you want to help?)
Today in this world so full of difficulties and turbulences, it seems that only a few people think about Jesus as the answer to their sorrows and able to free them from wrong habits and traditions.
Next month Christians will be celebrating the miraculous resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is this power within that enables true believers to see sorrows that come our way turned into joy!
When Jesus’ resurrection power is in your life, even if yours seems a useless life, you will be transformed into a strong, useful person. This power brings release to the dismayed and disheartened. Sorrow is turned into joy!
His power can even intervene in the life of a chronically ill person… he or she can ask God in Jesus’ name for healing! If, for example, a Christian’s organ does not function, that sick one can believe in faith to receive supernatural healing from the Lord and live as a normal person.
Now we all die at some point, but here’s a great Easter truth… our Lord Jesus died on Calvary’s cross, but rose from the dead, and did not die again! And the Christian’s eternity is secured for Jesus promised, ‘He who believes in me, though he may die, he shall live’ (John 11:25).
The graves in which bodies are buried are closed ones. But the tomb of our Lord is still open – which, hallelujah, we will be celebrating in a couple of weeks! In believing in Jesus as Saviour and trusting Him, we can live in peace no matter the problem!
A comforting Saviour
After His death on the cross, both the Roman and temple authorities ordered a blocking lockdown around the tomb of Jesus. The Bible says that they: ‘… went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard’ (Matthew 27:66). But our Lord rose from the dead on the third day! (Matthew 28:1-8). He would be seen by more than 500 people before ascending to His Father in heaven! (1 Corinthians 15:6).
But regarding that third day, although Jesus had told His disciples that He would rise from the dead, they were in a home, disappointed, disheartened, dismayed and afraid.
They failed to show their belief in Jesus, whereas ‘Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to the tomb on the first day of the week after the Sabbath so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body’ (Mark 16:1-2).
But Jesus did not judge those disheartened disciples’ shortcomings. On the contrary, when He met with them a little later, He comforted them with peace and turned their sorrow into joy! (John 20:19-20).
Being on guard
Dear friend, have your doubts – even little ones – your desires and lust of the flesh driven you away from the Lord and His love? Do not be disheartened, confess your short-comings and come to Jesus afresh. Your sorrow will turn into joy!
The late Pastor G. Sundaram once shared that we must guard our fellowship with our Saviour and ensure that we can keep on receiving the joy of the Lord…
‘Every one of us has been delivered from sinful thinking, habits and relationships by His grace. But we should be on our guard not to go back to the sins from which we were delivered. The chances are that they will attack us! Be cautious!
‘For instance, if we were delivered by Jesus’ grace from –
- Some addiction – we must not go near that addiction ever again.
- Wrong thoughts – we must guard our minds that we don’t revisit them.
- Bad company – we must never have any relationship with them.
‘If we safeguard our deliverance diligently and are firm in our resolve, we will have victory and complete joy.’
Removal of stone blocks
When those ladies above visited the tomb of Jesus, ‘There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it’ (Matthew 28:2).
Dear brother, sister… there may be stone blocks in your life which could not be removed or rolled back either by you or by the strong or rich.
But fear not, God will make a way where there is no way. It may not be far off. You are on the threshold of God’s blessing. Be firm. Your sorrows will very soon turn into joy!
Children of God, be cheerful! Whatever may block your way, the key is Jesus. He alone is powerful enough to remove blockages! Leave all your sufferings with Him.
Some among you have backslidden… some have wrongly handled that ministry calling on your life! These are grave mistakes. The Lord has raised you from a deep pit and placed you in high places. How can you deny Him further? Be diligent… deal with these mistakes and do not repeat them! Repent now! If you do so, your sorrows will certainly turn into joy.
Something else here… Jesus had risen from the dead, yet Peter went back to his old profession, fishing in the sea of Tiberias along with six other disciples (John 21:3). It is somewhat puzzling!
Still, the Lord showed His love. When they spotted Him on their return to shore, He asked, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’
No, they hadn’t caught anything all night! Note the love of Jesus forthose who had deserted Him – He called them friends! Then gave them the best tip for a good catch of fish. And they caught fish… so many! Then they had a friendly enjoyable fellowship breakfast together and Jesus shared more with them!
Dear reader, dear friend… by a profound exalted calling, He chose you too, lifted you up from your problems, and gave you gifts and talents enabling you to care for others and encourage them to discover their sorrow being turned into joy!
I have seen people take up the call of ministry but then leave it, giving some questionable reason or excuse, and take up worldly professions. No one should commit such mistakes!
Or… because of some problems or worldly pleasures, have you run away from God and not found your own peace in Jesus? I challenge all of us here, including myself!
Think about your life for a moment!
How did God deliver you from the problems that struck you and your family? Or when you were afflicted by illness, failures, difficulties?
Remember how God delivered you miraculously? The Lord is with you and kind toward you – your sorrow was turned into joy! Please do not desert Him but give Him first place in your life.
We may encounter many storms in our lives these days! Different kinds of storms, whirlwinds and tornados come from various directions, people or sources, causing dismaying wounds.
Let us remember that we can overcome them by the power of God and act before the situation worsens! The Lord is kind enough to give His grace to bring everything under our control, to turn sorrow into joy! He wants us to handle every challenge with all wisdom and diligence.
Rescue others from storms!
I’ve call such challenges storms, those things that confront our mind… and those problems caused by people. If we do not take safety measures when we perceive the rising of the storm, we may sink. Remember how our Lord Jesus cared so much for His friends when a storm threatened their lives? Luke 8:24 records: ‘He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm.’
Satan is sitting in wait to sink us (I Peter 5:8). Meet your challenges bearing in mind that God is in full control over your life. Be not angry, be not sorrowful. Praise God in all situations. Repeat His promises. He is with me and for me. I am the one who overcomes all situations.
May God bless you… may any sorrow you are currently experiencing be turned into joy! And may a victorious you in Jesus’ name release others who are dismayed, disappointed and disheartened discover their sorrow turned into joy!
Remember that on Calvary’s cross, Jesus accomplished so much for us!
Dr S Sam Selva Raj is founder of India’s National Spiritual Newspaper Echo of His Call, printed monthly in 16 languages. For more than 50 years Dr Sam has overseen many community outreaches blessing thousands, the Chennai church, Nehemiah Bible College, St Paul’s Matriculation School, postal and online Bible correspondence/theological courses. God’s 2023 challenge for Dr Sam’s is daily broadcasting 5-minute messages in Hindi, Tamil and English on YouTube, trusting Him to provide for the costs. Links: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com
Loved the words of the song and also for your encouraging reflection on ‘those things that confront our minds and those problems caused by people’ which praise God He can turn around for our good (even their good) and His glory.