Sorrow and love flow mingled down

By Adam Bennett

Sorrow and love flow mingled down

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because he has dealt bountifully with me. (Psalm 13:5-6 ESV)

There are Christians who live at extremes of happiness and sorrow. Some cannot present themselves as anything but dour and sombre. Others feel they must be glibly effervescent at all times.

This Psalm paints a paradoxical but wonderfully realistic picture. On one hand the Psalmist wonders how long he must have “sorrow in my heart all the day” (v.2). His circumstances have made him feel that God has hidden his face from him and forgotten him (v.1).

Sorrow is appropriate for Christians. We should mourn the sin in our own lives and the world around us. Suffering and injustice should provoke a sense of sadness.

On the other hand, in the midst of this sorrow, the Psalmist speaks of rejoicing (v.5) and singing (v.6). The Psalmist introduces this new tone to Psalm 13 with the simple word but. He would say, my circumstances are in truth hard to bear, but…

Paul describes his own experience of being, “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Corinthians 6:10). He even says, “we rejoice in our sufferings,” (Romans 5:3) knowing that God produces fruit through them.

How is this possible?

First, the Psalmist says he trusts in God’s steadfast love (v.5). “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” (Romans 7:8). The passage goes on the next verse (9) to say being justified through Jesus blood, much more shall we be saved by him.

We can trust in God’s steadfast love because we are confident that his love in action on our behalf has the power to save us.

Second, the Psalmist says he rejoices in God’s salvation. Whatever our sorrows and circumstances we can be glad and grateful for God’s saving work. We move on all too quickly from remembering and celebrating the saving work of Jesus on our behalf.

Lastly, the Psalmist has a sense that God has dealt bountifully with him (v.6). He has not received a lesser blessing but has been given the richest treasure offered. We are told that God, “is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

The fullness of God’s blessing to us is not just bountiful – it is greater than we can comprehend or imagine. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9 – NIV).

Communion is the moment where sorrow and joy meet most clearly in our Christian experience.

During communion we remember the broken body and flowing blood of Christ spent on our behalf. We sorrow for his suffering and humiliation and our sin which was the cause. Yet, we also rejoice because “through Christ [God] reconciled us to himself” 2 Corinthians 5:18

See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Copyright Adam Bennett 2009. More articles are available at http://godward-thoughts.blogspot.com/

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1 comment

  1. Doreen Gatien says:

    Psalm 30:5 Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning.