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Good grief, Charlie Brown!

Aside from the flurry of leaves whisking down my street each morning and the crisp breeze that greets me as I step outside my door, another sure sign that autumn is on its way is Lucy’s inevitable attempt to trick Charlie Brown into kicking a football.

You remember the comic strip series, Peanuts? Every fall the loveable, yet awkward boy Charlie is enticed by the deceptive neighbor girl, Lucy. She promises (yet again) to hold the football so Charlie Brown can kick it, but she somehow always manages to pull it away at the last second. The result? Poor Charlie ends up flat on his back . . . and usually not in a soft pile of fall leaves!

This is about the point that we read that famous phrase, “Good grief!”

Like Charlie Brown’s premature balding (what’s up with that anyway?), I really never understood this oxymoronic statement . . . what could possibly be good about grief? Yet recently I came across a Scripture that stood out in an unusual way to me. Look at John 16:20:

“Truly, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy when you see me again.”

Jesus was talking to His disciples about His eminent return to Heaven. Though they had experienced many wonderful times together, the Lord was preparing them for His eventual departure . . . and even gave them a gentle warning about what the future would be like for them as well:

“You have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice and no one can rob you of that joy . . . I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trails and sorrows, but take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

John 16:22,33

Most of us can attest to some of the sadness and sorrow that’s experienced during life here on Planet Earth. Maybe you’ve been betrayed by a friend – even repeatedly – like good old Charlie Brown. Or perhaps you feel as if you are always the outsider – different from others because of your faith and how you’ve chosen to live your life. And there are often deeper wounds – hidden carefully from others so as not to stir up any more pain than we already experience in our day-to-day lives.

So, what’s so good about grief? The fact that it will one day be suddenly turned to JOY when we see Jesus again! He is in Heaven now preparing our eternal home (John 14:1-6), but He has promised to return for us. And, unlike some untrustworthy people in this world, the Lord always keeps His promises!

I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready for sadness to be transformed into sheer happiness! So, let’s take comfort in the Lord’s message to us. Despite the struggles and suffering we may have right now, all of that will be changed in an instant at the sight of the Lord who loves us so much He was willing to die so we could live forever!

As you walk through this new season of life, remember that you are not alone. You can believe in the One who made you, loves you, and is longing to spend all of eternity with you. Won’t you put your trust in God as He prepares to turn all of your grief into something good?

“I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you; I am going away, but I will come back to you again . . . “

John 14:27-28

Thought of the Month

“The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise to return, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to perish, so he is giving more time for everyone to repent . . . And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to live a pure and blameless life. And be at peace with God.”

II Peter 3:9, 14