Sorrowful yet always rejoicing

By Dave Henning / May 29, 2018

“It is a good word (2 Corinthians 6:10), that of St. Paul: As being sorrowful yet always rejoicing.  For those who believe in Jesus Christ there is no death and no sorrow that is not mixed with hope.”- from Vincent van Gogh’s first sermon

“Our hearts ache, but we always have joy.  We are poor, but we give spiritul riches to others.  We own nothing, and yet we have everything.”- 2 Corinthians 6:10 (NLT)

In Chapter 4 (“Intentional Obscurity”) of Finding Favor, Brian Jones tells the story of lay pastor Vincent van Gogh.  Yes, that Vincent van Gogh!  When Vincent van Gogh walked to the pulpit in October of 1876, he carried on the legacy of his father and grandfather, both noted preachers.  However, after several years of hardship, van Gogh was told he was unfit for the ministry.

Yet, his letters during this period contain the Bible verse “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” no less than fifteen times.  But after van Gogh’s termination from lay ministry, the phrase quietly disappeared from his everyday vocabulary.  Instead, it reemerged as the overarching theme in his paintings.  Thankfully, Pastor Jones observes, theres more than one way to preach.

Van Gogh spent most of his artistic days shuffling between discouragement and despair, especially toward the end of his life.  However, in ten years he produced over nine hundred paintings, but couldn’t catch a break.  Today, though, museums worldwide display his paintings.  As Brian states, “maybe that’s because some sermons take twenty minutes to write, while others take a lifetime.”

Today’s question: How does St. Paul’s good word in 2 Corinthians 6:10 – “sorrowful yet always rejoicing” – apply to your life?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “In total obscurity for a season”

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Dave Henning

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