Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Too Good to be True
As they were talking about these things, Jesus Himself stood among them, and said to them, "Peace to you!" But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch Me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have." And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, He said to them, "Have you anything here to eat?" They gave Him a piece of broiled fish, and He took it and ate before them.
I am often tempted to take a rather dark view of the world. I am often inclined to take my sorrows more seriously than my joys, as if the one were the real thing, the tangible reality, and the other were ephemeral and incorporeal.
But does sorrow actually have more real substance than joy?
In this scene following the resurrection of Jesus, the disciples were incredulous. Was Jesus really standing before them? Was He a spirit? Should they be worried instead of rejoicing? And His response was: Touch Me. I am flesh and bone. I am real.
I read all the stories of His betrayal and suffering and crucifixion in each Gospel one after the other, and appreciated them for the real Sorrow and the real Pain that they show, because it is a comfort to me to see these parts of what it is to be human acknowledged by God and shared by Christ. Which is a good and right comfort. But then I read all the stories of His resurrection, and I was convicted about my tendency to focus on those parts of life and forget the others--forget how much I have to be thankful for.
Mind you, I am not saying that sorrow is not also real and tangible, only that Joy is quite as real. That, in a sense, there's no such thing as too good to be true. Because of the Good that is True and gives Joy. Because God.