It was a wonderfully surprising day Saturday when a long-planned birthday party was blessed with a short break in the dismal weather --- it would be SUNNY and a perfect April 1st for our six-year-old neighbor.
Similar events were probably taking place all across town, parents shouting with glee at the sunshine and whipped creamy clouds. Grass still hosted puddles, and kids got in the mud, but there was sunshine!
I know these frequent weather reports are boring, but let's look at the bigger picture. Bad weather is good. It should cause me to appreciate the good weather that much more. Pain is good. It pinpoints the problem, makes for an easier solution and helps me glory in its absence.
In the same way, a knowledge of personal sin and its consequences must be painful. It is only then that I can find relief in the forgiveness of sins that the Lord Jesus offers. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." Matthew 5:4. He's not speaking of earthly grief, but of the pain of an inherited sin nature and its effect in our daily thoughts and decisions. He's saying repentance and confession are painful, but necessary for fullness of joy.
"[Jesus] also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 'Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: "God, I think you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get." But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."'
Lord, may we know the true joy that comes when we, by faith, humbly accept that dying love by which You will forgive our iniquities.