2 Cor. 6:3-10
[A]mid glory and dishonor; by evil report and good report; branded as deceivers and yet vindicated as truthful; as unknown to the world, yet well-known by God and His people; as dying, yet we live; as punished, yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet bestowing riches on many; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.
A friend of mine was describing to me two families she knows. Both families are similarly situated economically, but she noticed some stark differences in how they live. What she told me was that one family lives as if they are poor while the other lives as if they are rich. I was not sure what she meant by that statement, because my mind was thinking practically. Of course the family who lives as if they are rich are not taking around-the-world cruises and buying penthouse condominiums in every major city. They are as financially restricted as the other family. What she was referring to was their way of living, the attitude with which they exist. The family who lives as if they are rich really just lives with a spirit of freedom, living well and content without feeling poor.
Christians live in two worlds, and we cannot forget that. We obviously exist in this physical world, and it can be confining in a number of ways. However, we also have been given the grace to live in the Spirit, which is altogether different. When Paul says that we are sorrowful yet always rejoicing he is speaking about this duality to our existence. One way we can deal with the sorrows of this world is by looking forward to the joy which awaits us in the future. That is a correct spiritual perspective, but there is more. God also wants us to experience joy here and now in the midst of our sorrow despite our trials and suffering. Living in the Spirit while experiencing sorrow allows us to still have our joy, our peace and our strength. We are called to be both sorrowful and joyful because the everlasting joy God offers is something we already have.
The world may alienate us, but we are still wanted. The world may hate us, but we are still loved. Our finances may dwindle, but we are still rich. Our friends may leave us, and our families may turn their backs, but we are never alone. The way we successfully navigate our sorrows is to live in the Spirit, to understand the complexity of our existence in both the physical and spiritual worlds, to find joy, peace and purpose within those dark yet light times. God knows what He is doing, but we must know that is our spiritual truth even when the physical seems to indicate otherwise. The more we live in the Spirit, the more light we will see in the dark times. Father, thank You for allowing us to live in spiritual truth, to see the day in the night and the joy in the sorrow.