Many sermons have begun with Dickens' great words from A Tale of Two Cities.
"It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." It just doesn't seem to fit does it? How can we be in both at the same time? Well, explain to me what "bittersweet" means.
We all know, of course, that life is a strange mixture " often all at the same time. And so is the spiritual life. I was reminded of that as I read the story in Matthew last week of the Resurrection of Jesus. As the women arrived at the tomb, they were greeted by an angel who announced that Jesus had risen. The scripture says that they departed quickly with "fear and great joy." Again, it doesn't seem like those two words go together.
Welcome to life " that strange mixture of best and worst, bitter and sweet fear and joy. Life is like that. Relationships are like that. Ministry is like that. That marvelous mixture called life.
This mixture of opposites is especially prevalent in the Biblical book of Psalms. So many of these poems and prayers begin like Psalm 13. "How long, O Lord? Wilt Thou forget me forever? How long wilt Thou hide Thy face from me?"
But notice how the same Psalm ends. "But I have trusted in Thy loving kindness; My heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me." Frustrations, questions and struggles have turned to joyful song.
Every person's life is a mixture. The believer's life is made bearable and even victorious because of a trusting faith in God. That's why I'll be in church tomorrow. Say, there are churches all over town offering you that invitation too.
- Bruce Henderson is pastor of the Airport Road Church of Christ and is a member of the Carson City Christian Ministerial Fellowship.