I like The Autumn Film’s melancholy version of an old familiar children’s song. You probably know it—“I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart…”—but you’ve never heard it quite like this. I like this version primarily because I find that all my joys really are tinged with sorrow, and all my sorrows tinged with joy. Perhaps that’s the paradoxical experience of most people, but it seems to me that it’s especially true of those who belong to Christ. With the apostle Paul we can honestly say, for a number of reasons, that we are “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10).
Here’s the song. You can download this video and 3 free songs from The Autumn Film living room session (along with some other great music) here. Continue reading below the video for a closing thought from Jonathan Edwards…
Not surprisingly, John Piper turns to Jonathan Edwards to help illuminate the nature of this paradox in Christian experience. In this quote from Edwards’ writing he’s describing the convergence of joy and sorrow that invariably characterizes true repentance:
There is repentance of sin: though it be a deep sorrow for sin that God requires as necessary to salvation, yet the very nature of it necessarily implies delight. Repentance of sin is a sorrow arising from the sight of God’s excellency and mercy, but the apprehension of excellency or mercy must necessarily and unavoidably beget pleasure in the mind of the beholder. ‘Tis impossible that anyone should see anything that appears to him excellent and not behold it with pleasure, and it’s impossible to be affected with the mercy and love of God, and his willingness to be merciful to us and love us, and not be affected with pleasure at the thoughts of [it]; but this is the very affection that begets true repentance. How much soever of a paradox it may seem, it is true that repentance is a sweet sorrow, so that the more of this sorrow, the more pleasure.
I think Edwards is right. Seeing even just a glimpse of the beauty and glory of God produces within our hearts a response of overwhelming joy. Simultaneously, that very same sight of God’s glory and mercy brings us to our knees in deep sorrow for our sin.
May God grant each of us more and more of this sweet sorrow of repentance as we pursue holiness.
Strive for… the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)
- Continual Repentance (challies.com)