Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sorrow—A Curse or a Blessing

There is one more very important lesson we can learn from the subject of yesterday’s meditation.  I think Richard Sibbes’ analysis of discouragement, and how the sorrow we experience in afflictions can be either a curse or a blessing, is simply brilliant!  Of course, spiritual brilliance in the handling of Scripture is par for the course with Puritans of Sibbes’ caliber.  The writings and sermons of the Puritans are as good as it gets!  Now, back to Sibbes’ particular brilliant point for today.  In Psalm 43, David is expressing the discouragement and sorrow he is experiencing in his afflictions.  Every believer goes through the same feelings at various times.  Any properly instructed Christian will agree with Sibbes when he says that being too discouraged in afflictions is sinful.  But how much is too much?  How can a Christian know when the amount of sorrow turns from a normal human reaction to a sinful one?  Sibbes’ reply to this question reveals the spiritual genius that marks so many Puritan teachers: “The soul is cast down too much when our sorrow does not bring us to God, but away from God.”  That is it exactly.  The person who blames God for the affliction will drift away from the Lord in bitterness and unbelief.  Hebrews 3:12 warns us about “an evil, unbelieving heart” that falls away from God.  But those who look to God for comfort in their sorrow will find Him an ever present source of help in troubles.

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