2 Corinthians 6:10
As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
The apostle's experience is in some degree known to many Christians. The apparent paradox of simultaneous grief and joy is to them a fact of sober consciousness.
I. SORROWFUL. Not querulous, but bruised and sad. The course of the world rushes past us, and we sit down with our pain or grief. We are chastened. And not without reason.
1. We must take our share of the troubles common to mankind. Spiritual life carries with it no exemption from the usual cares and losses of the present state. To bring about such exemption would require a multiplication of miracles without any sufficient reason. If famine come upon a land, or war, or pestilence; if a railway train or a passenger steamship be wrecked, - there can be no discrimination between the good and the bad in the common catastrophe. Indeed, it is questionable whether a special immunity from pain and grief accorded to spiritual men might not do serious harm to religion, by giving strong temporal inducements to worldly men to cover themselves over with a thin coating of godliness. And there are sorrows which no personal qualities can ward off. Some troubles are inherited; others come from the mishap or misconduct of a relative or of a partner in business. And the sickness and death of those who are dear to us must bring us grief. Man is born to trouble.
2. We find in the discipline of sorrow some of the best lessons and impulses of the Christian life
"Night brings out stars;
So sorrow shows us truths." And conformity to Christ is gained in suffering with him, working out a deeper patience and keener moral sensibility.
II. YET ALWAYS REJOICING. The Man of sorrows had joy in his Father's love; though it is his affliction that is made prominent in the account of his state of humiliation. There was also a joy set before him, and in this he now sits at the right hand of God. As his followers, we too have joy now amidst sorrow, and fulness of joy set before us. Always. Not sorrowing always, but always rejoicing. It cannot mean any ecstatic emotion, for that cannot be habitual; the excessive strain would break the springs of feeling. But we may be always glad and satisfied and triumphant in our Lord. Not only is this possible to the sorrowful; it seems to be fullest and strongest in them. Remember Paul and Silas singing in the dark dungeon with their stripes unwashed. Samuel Rutherford in prison at Aberdeen, and Madame Guyon in prison at Vincennes, tasted the same gladness. The latter said, "My heart was full of that joy which thou givest to them that love thee in the midst of the greatest crosses." This can be understood only by those who have some real acquaintance of heart with the Lord Jesus, and know what treasures his people have in him - unsearchable riches, unerring wisdom, precious atonement, prevailing intercession, helpful sympathy, victorious strength, and everlasting love. Genius often shows the combination of a pensive vein, a tenderness, a pathos, with a healthy elastic hopefulness, nay, with a joyfulness robust as in a man, yet simple and playful as in a child. But we speak of what is better than even genius - the grace of God. This can make even very ordinary people both gentle and brave, tender and strong, patient in sorrow, and constant in joy. "The meek shall increase their joy in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel." - F.
Parallel VersesKJV: As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.