Theophane Venard said, “Be merry, really merry. The life of a true Christian should be a perpetual jubilee, a prelude to the festivals of eternity. “
Now, that quote may not mean much to you until you understand the context it was written in. Theophane Venard was a french priest called to West Tonkin Province, China (North Vietnam) in the year 1852. Father Theophane entered the province just in time to see the outlawing of Christianity. While most priests fled to hide in caves and fields Father Venard continued to minister, at first by night but later on more boldly in broad daylight. Eventually he was betrayed, captured and sentenced to death. Through the months of December, January and February 1860-1861 the priest lived in a cage awaiting death. It was at this time he penned the words you have just read along with many other words of encouragement to his fellow priests and his family.
A few hundred years before him two men, Hendrick Sumer and Jacob Mandel, met a similar fate for proclaiming the gospel in Switzerland. Listen to the testimony concerning them:
” When the brethren learned that their time had come that they should depart out of the world, they rejoiced from the heart, and were glad and of good cheer; they also said that it was a greater joy for them than if they were to go to a marriage; yea, they were of very good cheer, that God had counted them worthy, that they should glorify His name through such a righteous death-which many righteous ones and friends of God had done before them, and thus obtained the heavenly crown.
When they were led forth, they spoke boldly to the people, and exhorted the great multitude that had gathered, that they should repent and turn from their sinful life to God, and then both joined their voices in raising a joyful, sweet, and heartfelt song of praise to the Lord.” (Martyrs Mirror, www.homecomers.org)
Now, these brothers had joy and peace and comfort in the midst of their trials even before they got their miracle, many would say even though they didn’t get their miracle.
Why is it that some Christians experience the comfort of God and others do not? Why are some able to stand and rejoice while others live in fear and failure?
I believe it has something to do with applying three principles from Matthew 11:28-30: “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
If we are going to be comforted (tucked in so to speak) we need to Come, Carry, And Consider:
1. Jesus said Come to me all who are weary-
The first thing we need to do is to approach God in our weariness. So many of us when we are tired stop spending time in prayer. Let me ask you this are you weary and heavy laden with a burden of care today? How much time are you spending in prayer? Do you have daily devotions? Are they longer than 5 minutes? When you come to church are you worshipping the Lord or are you just lying in the puddle of your depression? How are you coming to Jesus to get his comfort? Prayer is the spiritual equivalent of going to bed when your tired.
As a little boy I remember those times when I would get tired but I would fight heading off to bed. Mom would say “It’s time…” and I would fight.
“But mom….you always spoil my fun!” I would get crabbier and crabbier.
So many of us are doing exactly this spiritually. We need comfort but rather than going to the place of comfort in prayer and getting spiritually tucked in we keep working at it ourselves, pressing pressing pressing in the flesh until we blow a gasket and head out to the bar or say something we will regret for years to come.We need to come to Jesus and stay with him in prayer until we are comforted. Let Jesus tuck you in the place of prayer.