Joy in Hard Times
“O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you…”—Matthew 11:25 Jesus was in a tough place. Towns where He had performed miracles—where “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor”—rejected Him.
“These cities did not attack Jesus Christ; they did not drive Him from their gates; they did not seek to crucify Him. They simply disregarded Him. Neglect can kill as much as persecution.”1
Jesus cried out to them, “Woe to you, woe to you! …For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”
He grieved over their indifference.
And yet, in the middle of this heartbreaking scenario, Jesus prayed to His Father:
“O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.”
He thanked and praised the Lord of Heaven. He trusted in His Father’s plan even when things weren’t lining up.
The source of Jesus’ great joy is His absolute trust in the Father’s plan.
He trusted in the sovereign Lord of all. Not even the rejection of His people would thwart the ultimate purposes of God.
The sophisticated religious leaders and the wise and learned who rejected Him did not see what ordinary people saw.
Jesus would face even harder times leading up to the crucifixion, but in every circumstance He knew He could trust in His Father’s plan—indeed He found great joy in the midst of hardship.
Is life hard for you right now? Things aren’t going according to plan?
This story ends with Him reaching out and comforting His followers, then and now:
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
- William Barclay, The Daily Bible Series,the Gospel of Matthew, Saint Andrew Press,1975.