Part 1 – An Introduction to Sorrow
Trouble and sorrow need not come as an enemy, but as a friend. In the first message Jesus brought to His disciples in that great Sermon on the Mount, He said, “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” And again in Luke, “Blessed are ye that weep . . .” Isaiah saw Jesus as a “Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”
For the Christian, sorrow is heaven’s lubrication system to help and not to hurt, to make better instead of bitter. Job said, “For God maketh my heart soft,” and “In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” All of our experiences of sorrow and trouble must be interpreted in the light of two great truths – God is too good to do wrong and He is too wise to make a mistake.
My ministry to the sorrowing began thirty-five years ago when my mother called me while I was a student in Baylor and asked me to come and preach the funeral for her namesake, little Sadie Mae Gable, our next door neighbor’s little daughter who was accidentally run over by her brother in a truck and killed. My first reaction and response was, “Momma, I cannot do it.” She insisted that I come and try and as I stood there that day, a timid preacher boy, and saw my mother sit by Mrs. Gable to comfort her, the Lord alone knew how much I needed His help as I literally broke apart on the inside. And yet at the close of the service, after sufficient grace was given, I can almost still hear Mrs. Gable say, “Oh, if I only had the faith of Lester.” And yet if she knew – how little faith I did have!
But little faith brings ample grace. From that day until this day, through experiences of burying my wife’s mother, my own mother and my own dad, I have found God’s grace altogether sufficient and am able now “to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God,” II Corinthians 1:4.