The Shadow of Sadness
Fourth in a Series of Six, The Shadow of the Cross
Grace, mercy, and peace to you from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
What is the point of life?
That’s a question I remember begin asked once last year. I remember it was a Sunday, and we were doing worship service on Sunday morning. There was a gal, a young gal, who had come into the office. I was finishing up service and Pastor Griffin was told that she was back there. He went and I stayed, and we agreed that when it came time for the sermon, he would come back and I would go.
You see, this gal, she had lost the man she loved, the man she thought she would spend the rest of her life with, and she didn’t know what to do. She was lost in the shadow of sadness. I remember coming into the office area, her with tears running down her cheeks, weeping, until she looked up and asked... Will I ever laugh again? Will I ever feel again? What is the point of life?
Have you ever felt like that? Perhaps you lost a loved one, who was very dear to you and you came to this question, what is life without them? Perhaps you lost your way and came to this question, What is the point of all of this busy-ness? Perhaps you came to a day like any other day and still you asked this question, “What’s the point to life?”
You see, we can be tempted on our good days to think that the point of life is to be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I want you to be happy as much as you can be, but the point of life is not to be happy-dappy holly-jolly all the time. No, if the point is to aim at happiness, then you will be questioning your reason to exist in any number of chapters of life. The point isn’t as simple as happiness. How do I know that?
We go to Isaiah 53:3. Now, remember that Isaiah is speaking this with the voice of God as a prophecy about the Messiah. He – and we know him to be Jesus – he was “a man of sorrows.” He was “acquainted with grief.” Read that – that even God himself come to earth was not happy all the time, and that’s not even the deepest meaning! We can go further, that he is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He was acquainted, he was familiar with our grief. He knows it intimately, even better than we know it ourselves, and then we go one step further.
“Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Not only has he known sadness himself, not only does he know our sorrow, he also has borne them for us. Not only does he weep with this gal in my office; he bears her grief for her. He has borne it to the cross.
And you see what you’ve already known, dear Christian friends, that this is the point of life, this is the point of our existence, this is the point of life – to know that Christ knows you and loves you in sadness and happiness. To know that you are cared for and that he picked you up in your baptism, he bears you now, carrying you forth in his word, and that he will one day gather all the lambs of his flock into the arms of his mercy and bring them home.
My dear second son, Amos, is far more of a cuddler than Benny was. Benjamin, when he woke up, would sit straight up and be ready to go go go. Amos, on the other hand, when he wakes up, he likes to snuggle. He’ll wake up, want to be in your arms, eyes bright, hands tucked in, just to be there with you.
Here’s the point – the point is that he knows who is holding him. He knows who is with him. He knows the one who bears him will look out for his good.
Happiness will come and go. Sadness will come and go. Laughter will come and go. Grief will come and go. But the man who has borne your griefs also bears you, now and into eternal life.
Amen and Amen.
Worship Sermons & Letters
Pastor Paul Muther