Dear Harbins Family,
Tomorrow’s service will be unusual. There will be no singing except at the very end and the tone and mood will not be as light as normal. The reason being is that the sermon will be covering one of the darkest Scriptures in the whole Bible, Job chapter 3. Many churches would skip over Job 3 and the “darker” sections of Scripture in favor of passages that are more cheerful. I believe this is a mistake. The Christian life is not always a “feel good” “sun-shiny”, “happy-go-lucky” experience. Part of the path of following Jesus takes us through great trials and difficulty, as the Scriptures say, “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22)
The Christian life in truth is a life that is “sorrowful yet always rejoicing.” (2 Cor 6:10). Sometimes churches major on the rejoicing and leave no room for sorrow. We do not know how to “weep with those who weep.” (Rom 12:15)
My prayer is that Harbins will be a church that will equip you to minister to those who are in deep anguish, as well as helping to prepare you for the storms that come in your own life. A part of that will entail not skipping over the “dark” parts of the Bible but letting Scriptures like Job 3 (and the whole book of Job for that matter) speak to us. Let’s remember that all Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for equipping the man of God for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16) Those Scriptures don’t just include our favorite “positive” Scriptures like 1 Corinthians 13 and Psalm 23, but also those that take us into the darker corners of life. God has a word for us in the more difficult passages of Scripture like Job 3, and I pray that God will give us ears to hear what His Spirit has to say to us. I expect He will speak both to suffers and those called to minister to sufferers, and I suppose He calls us to be both at different points of our lives.
So I am looking forward to joining with you tomorrow morning to worship the God who knows and understands our pain better than anyone. Jesus Himself is known as a “man of sorrows” who is “acquainted with grief.” (Isa 53:3) We can turn to Him in our darkest moments, because “The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalm 34:18)
Grace and Peace,