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Maui, Hawaii. Photo by Charles F. Stanley.
Daily Devotion

Sorrow in Rejoicing

God understands the intricacies of the human heart and is faithful in all the confusing moments we face.

May 22, 2024

Ezra 3:10-13

Have you ever waited a long time and then finally gotten something you dearly wanted? Maybe you waited decades to see a close relative. Or perhaps you left your home country and never expected to get back there. How did you feel when the time finally came? Sometimes the reality at the end of a long period of expectant waiting feels bittersweet.

The destruction of the temple in Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon were traumatic. The Israelites waited 70 years for redemption and the chance to return. Now, in Ezra 3, the time is finally here—the people have returned and the temple foundation has also been laid. What was lost will be rebuilt at last. Can you imagine the relief, the celebration?

Yet there’s also weeping. The older generation remembers what stood before and knows all that’s been lost. This redemption, though cause for joy, stirs memories of what will never be again.

In this fleeting life, we have moments of rejoicing and of sorrow (Eccl. 3:4), and sometimes they intermingle in a way we can’t understand or ever hope to separate. And God doesn’t ask us to. He remains faithful to us in those moments—and a thousand more besides—until the day comes when He will wipe away every tear (Rev. 21:4).   

Bible in One Year: 2 Chronicles 35-36

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