Strachan: Rejoice!

God is conspiring to make you happy today. In order to be sad and downcast, you will have to work against God. This doesn’t mean that everything in your day will come up roses; it doesn’t mean that clouds will avoid you, songbirds will accompany you on your errands, and people will pay only nice-but-nonintrusive compliments to you. Following God right now may involve twists and turns you never anticipated. But whatever your course, God desires your “happiness” and “pleasure….”

If God had not intended to make us full of grace, and thus surpassingly happy, he would not have given us Jesus. Jesus is a terrible gift if you’re trying to drench people in misery. The pleasures of Christ are not small and insignificant; they are explosive and great. What a salvation he won on our behalf. He took on the very wrath of his Father against our sin, and exhausted it at the Cross. He willingly underwent terrible “torments” in order to remake and renew us. As great as the cost of our deliverance was, even greater is the happiness it yields, for all this work is Christ’s work, and Christ’s accomplishment.

With a foundation like this, no wonder Paul tells the Corinthians, “Finally, brothers, rejoice” (2 Corinthians 13:11). He says this after two letters of correction and rebuke. Nonetheless, despite the weakness of this people, they must rejoice. They are the people to whom God has given his Son. They can do nothing other than rejoice. So it is with us. God is actively conspiring to make us happy in the Son. The question is: Will we rejoice?

Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17-18)

-Owen Strachan, Always in God’s Hands: Day by Day in the Company of Jonathan Edwards, 313.

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