Grief to Joy: God Redeems

Has God redeemed you? Are there aspects of your life that seem hopeless, lost, or dead? How can we move forward in our lives when our dreams, careers, and/or loved ones are sources of loss and grief? No one is immune from the trials, tribulations, and losses of life. As sinners living in a broken world, suffering and grief surrounds us. How can we find joy? I am including several links on various topics for you to explore for yourself.

Defining Redemption

Redemption is an act of God’s grace, by which He rescues and restores his people.

Jack Zavada defines redemption:

“Redemption is the English translation of the Greek word agorazo, meaning “to purchase in the marketplace.” In ancient times, it often referred to the act of buying a slave. It carried the meaning of freeing someone from chains, prison, or slavery.

The New Bible Dictionary gives this definition: “Redemption means deliverance from some evil by payment of a price.”” Our English word redemption comes from Latin redimere meaning to “buy back.”

Has God bought you back from your life of sin and separation? We are all in bondage to sin and death until Christ buys us back!

The Misunderstanding–Failure to Recognize

We, like the Disciples, tend to misunderstand God! Many Jews of Jesus’ time turned away from following Christ after the identified Himself as the Suffering Messiah. The 1st century common Jewish people were longing for a messiah to re-establish the Davidic Kingdom of Israel. They wanted the oppression of the Romans and religious leaders to end. The people were burdened with heavy taxation, military occupation, and strict religious laws that made life difficult at best. Perhaps this is why that Jesus promised rest and relief. Jesus frequently taught and healed people to introduce His purpose. Do we really understand Jesus and His place in our lives?

One theme that emerges in reading through the Gospels is how that few people including the 12 Disciples understood Jesus and His purpose. It’s important to remember that the Disciples just like us lived in a world context that defines and shapes our expectations, and outlook on life. They too were caught up in the feverish desire for a militant, triumphant messiah. This thought persisted even into Acts when they asked Jesus if He was going to establish His earthly kingdom! What do you expect from Jesus?

Jesus’ Purpose and Mission (in concise form)

Numerous scriptures guide the correct understanding of Jesus’ arrival. John Piper lists numerous passages on this page:

Jesus came to bear witness to His Father, to obey Him in paying the price for our sins! These topics will be presented in blog form–perhaps as Christmas draws near. Jesus didn’t come to overturn the Roman Empire or to create a utopia for people. It’s important that we recognize the truth(s) of Jesus in order to properly understand Him. Scriptures as a whole (particularly Hebrews 11) remind us of the cost of following Christ. It’s not an easy or popular path to walk! We have to every day die to self and choose to follow Christ!

Our Grief to Joy–Quotes from Lysa Terkeurst: Forgiving What You Can’t Forget: Discover How to Move On, Make Peace with Painful Memories, and Create a Life that’s Beautiful Again

I would recommend reading Lysa’s book if you are walking through a time of grief and struggle with forgiveness! Her words have challenged and encouraged me during a difficult season of life.

Lysa references John 16:20-22

Quote Group 1 “I think Jesus knew this where His disciples would be when all of their hope for a better future would soon be hung on a cross and buried in a tomb. . . He didn’t promise their grief would be taken away and replaced with joy. He promised the grief would turn into joy. The grief would produce the joy. The grief was part of the journey, but it would not be the way it would all end.” pg 152-153

I want you to carefully think, pray, and mediate on the grief that is in your life presently! What you are going through is part of the journey! It can lead you closer and deeper to Christ if you will consider the possibility that maybe this present grief will lead to future joy!

Quote Group 2 pg 153

What they had prayed for was someone to free them from the oppression of the Roman government. They got a servant who washed their feet. They wanted a ruler; they got a teacher. The wanted a justice-seeking king; they got a kindhearted healer. Their answer never looked like they thought it would. They thought they were on a journey to Jesus taking the throne, but instead He took up His cross. They thought God would save them. And He did. The disciples were absolutely grieved. . . until they were utterly amazed.

Lysa shares the great pastor Charles Spurgeon’s observation: (paraphrased)

The Apostles don’t appear in any sermons or epistles to have spoken of Jesus’ death with any kind of regret. The gospels mentions their distress and deep sorrow during the crucifixion, but after the resurrection, and especially after Pentecost, we hear of no such grief. C.H. Spurgeon “Sorrow at the Cross Turned into Joy”

This sermon is available online.

In short, it seems as though the disciples and later apostles understood Jesus after He had ascended! It took the presence of Holy Spirit and perhaps time/reflection/study to realize the meaning of redemption. Can you recognize God’s presence in your times of difficulty and grief? Are you willing to trust Him even when all seems lost?

Closing Summary Thoughts/Applications

1. Grief, disappointment(s), failure, and loss will be part of our lives.

2. Jesus redeems the lost sinner(s) who repents, believes, and follow Him.

3. Jesus, God, and Holy Spirit works through our grief–He hasn’t abandoned us!

4. God works to turn our grief into joy–this is a process that requires trust and patience.

You can email me at or send message via Facebook. I am open to listening to you share what God is doing in your life!

A fellow pilgrimage seeking the narrow, hard path to Christ,

Lee Stanfill

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Just a pilgrim walking each day with Jesus and hoping to encourage others along the path.

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