and come to Zion with singing,
crowned with unending joy.
Joy and gladness will overtake them,
and sorrow and sighing will flee.”
Isaiah 51:11 HCSB
I feel that regardless of one’s worldview, suffering and pain, sighing and sorrow, are present. As for me, I find identity not as someone who has earned any right to God’s favor, but as an undeserving object of mercy who had no claim to any kind of redemption. Yet, here I stand, many times weak and wavering, but with hope in the Lord who is never wavering. His Kingdom is coming. In the book Pilgrims Progress, author John Bunyon refers to the Kingdom of God as the Celestial City. Our sorrow and sighing will not outlast our Savior and the City he is bringing us to. The pains we go through are real, but because of Jesus, they will not last forever. Rest WILL come!
If I have not to look forward to Zion, the Kingdom of God, where Yahweh, his bride – the redeemed church, and his creation all intersect, where sorrow and sighing are only memories that increase the joys we will have, what good is my hope? My hope is that in Christ, the dwelling place of God is with man. God will bring his kingdom. We will have the Lord, and with the Lord, we will have all that is good. Zion without God is no Zion at all.
“The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.”
Psalms 23:1 HCSB
In the classic book Precious Against Satan’s Devices, Thomas Brooks explains on of the devices that Satan uses to keep the saints in a sad condition. Surely our sighing and sorrow adds to that. In losing the comforts we have had in the joy of our salvation and redemption, it is a gentle slope to feeling hopeless and discouraged. To forget who we are is in need of a remedy. We must not lose sight of our hope! One of the remedies that Brooks gives the reader echoes Isaiah 51:11.
The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, to consider, That God will restore and make up the comforts of his people. Though your candle be put out, yet God will light it again, and make it burn more bright than ever. Though your sun for the present be clouded, yet he who rides upon the clouds shall scatter those clouds, and cause the sun to shine and warm your heart as in former days, as the psalmist speaks: ‘You who have showed me great and sore troubles, shall quicken me again, and shall bring me up again from the depths of the earth. You shall increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side’ (Psalm 71:20, 21).
God takes away a little comfort, that he may make room in the soul for a greater degree of comfort. This the prophet Isaiah sweetly shows: ‘I have seen his ways, and will heal him; I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him, and to his mourners’ (Isa. 57:18). Bear up sweetly, O precious soul! your storm shall end in a calm, and your dark night in a sunshine day! Your mourning shall be turned into rejoicing, and the waters of consolation shall be sweeter and higher in your soul than ever! The mercy is surely yours—but the time of giving it is the Lord’s. Wait but a little, and you shall find the Lord comforting you on every side. See Psalm 126:6, and 42:7, 8.
May we all find our rest in remembering that we are redeemed in Christ, and he will bring about his kingdom that will know no end. Sorrow and sighing will flee. Our joy and happiness and singing and gladness will know know end, because Jesus will know no end.