Colossians: Strange Bedfellows

Suffering and joy make for strange bedfellows... how does this relationship work? Paul put them together in his prayer for the Colossians.

2 Corinthians 11:16-12:10
Colossians 1:9-12
Matthew 5:11-12
James 1:12-13
Romans 5:3-4
Hebrews 12:2
1 Peter 4:13-14
2 Corinthians 6:10
1 Thessalonians 1:6-7
Romans 8:18
Acts 5:40-41,16:25,13:50-52
Hebrews 10:32-34
Habakkuk 3:17-19

But Paul lays a harder duty on us even in promising a great gift to us, when he puts before us an ideal of joy mingling with patience and longsuffering. The command would be an impossible one if there were not the assurance that we should be 'strengthened with all might.' We plainly need an infusion of diviner strength than our own, if that strange marriage of joy and sorrow should take place, and they should at once occupy our hearts. Yet if His strength be ours we shall be strong to submit and acquiesce, strong to look deep enough to see His will as the foundation of all and as ever busy for our good, strong to hope, strong to discern the love at work, strong to trust the Father even when He chastens. And all this will make it possible to have the paradox practically realized in our own experience, 'As sorrowful yet always rejoicing.' One has seen potassium burning underwater. Our joy may burn under waves of sorrow. Let us bring our weakness to Jesus Christ and grasp Him as did the sinking Peter. He will breathe His own grace into us, and speak to our feeble and perchance sorrowful hearts, as He had done long before Paul's words to the Colossians, 'My grace is sufficient for thee, and my strength is made perfect in weakness.' Alexander Maclaren Expositions of Holy Scripture

Sermon discussion topics for parents to use with their children:

  • Who are the strange bedfellows?

  • Why do they seem so strange?

  • What future realities should our joy be based on?

  • What present realities?

  • What practical impact should this have on our lives both now and in the future?