Sorrow Abounds But Christ is Triumphant

I was reading and pondered this quote:

“To be cast down is often the best thing that could happen to us.”

-C.H. Spurgeon

Imagine if you stood by someone’s bedside while they battled cancer–the chemo causing intense vomitting and hair and weight loss–quoting the words of Spurgeon. Or imagine someone who was just sexually abused, or even weeping by the grave of a loved one, or someone who just lost their job. The words of Spurgeon would not necessarily be the wisest or kindest words to say. What should we say? We say nothing. We sit in the ashes; we weep with those who weep; we talk more to God about them than we talk to them about God. We do not need to declare in the sorrowful, excruciatingly horrible moments what grace and time in God’s hands can do or even prove to the downcast. What do we do with the quote? We speak his sentiment sparingly and carefully. What else?

We learn and train ourselves to embody the sentiment by Spurgeon. We know full well how sorrows can negatively change a person–it can harden us, embitter us, destroy and break our faith in God and ultimately make us cynical about people.

How do we learn to embody the sentiments of Spurgeon that “to be cast down is often the best thing to happen to us”? Spurgeon directs our gaze to Jesus Christ. Jesus is called, Immanuel, God with us. There is a temptation in our Christian lives where we lie to ourselves and think, “God gives us immunity from the world.” No. We must not fall into that lie. God is the One who does not leave us when people, sickness, and weather do their worst. Spurgeon, shedding light and a healing balm on the sorrowful soul, “‘There is no remedy for sorrow beneath the sun like the sorrows of Immanuel.’ The sympathy of Jesus is the next most precious thing to his sacrifice.”

The power of Jesus Christ is awesome. He speaks to our sorrows and commands them to serve His purposes. Hence, Paul’s exultations in Romans 8:28! Sorrows are caused by sinful actions or consequences–sometimes not even by your doing but you receive them and Jesus sovereignly brings them into His own counsel. Our sorrows are changed by the grace of God and soon take on His purposes to advance His intentions. His intentions certainly thwart and change the murky waters of sorrow. Sorrow belongs to Jesus. Jesus is their master!

The sermons were so helpful brethren. Spurgeon identifies some benefits when Jesus redeems sorrow and is with us during those hard times:

Sorrow puts forth our pride into light

“It is a good thing for us to be taken down a notch or two. We sometimes rise too high, in our own estimation, that unless the Lord took away some of our joy, we should be utterly destroyed by pride.”

Sorrow forces us to re-examine ourselves and to be simply honest about ourselves and our problems. “When this downcasting comes, it gets us to work at self-examination… When your house has been made to shake, it has caused you to see whether it was founded upon a rock.” I’m reminded of the story of the big bad wolf and the three pigs. He huffs and puffs and blows their house down. You wouldn’t know which was the most stable and secure unless the wolf attempts to blow them down.

Sorrow reveals our immaturity contrasted to true maturity modeled by Jesus

“Depression of spirit is no index of declining grace; the very loss of joy and the absense of assurance may be accompanied by the greatest advancement in the spiritual life… we do not want rain all the days of the week, and all the weeks of the year; but if rain comes sometimes, it makes the fields fertile, and fills the waterbrooks.”

Maturity comes through some painful lessons.

Sorrow sharpens our empathy for others:

“If we had never been in trouble ourselves, we should be very poor comforters of others… It would be no disadvantage to a surgeon if he once knew what it was to have a broken bone; you may depend upon it that his touch would be more tender afterwords; he would not be so rough with his patients as he might have been if he had never felt such pain himself.”

Hebrews 4 speaks of our High Priest, Jesus Christ, who is able to sympathize with our weakness and in every respect was tempted as we are, yet without sin. He knew pain; He knew sorrows. Jer. 31:13 is the beautiful exchange God commits to the burdened soul through Christ, an exchange of sorrow for gladness.

Sorrow is a means of drawing us closer to Jesus in true dependence

“When you and I were little boys, and we were out at eventide walking with our father, we used sometimes to run on a long way ahead; but, by and by, there was a big dog loose on the road, and it is astonishing how closely we clung to our father then.”

Our world may fall apart but Jesus is our terra firma ; He is our Rock. True strength rises from the ashes of our cries on the unchanging shoulder of Christ.

Spurgeon: Sermon on The Man of Sorrows (  and Sweet Stimulants for the Fainting Soul (

Introduction to the Anniversary Service

Our church is gearing up for an exciting celebration. On October 2nd, we will be celebrating our 1-Year Anniversary but also our formal inauguration service. The purpose of the inaugural service is to formally install the church and the pastor (e.g. me) and to celebrate God’s many blessings and God’s faithfulness to us over the past year. Our guest preacher will be Pastor Patrick Cho from Lighthouse Bible Church. As we lead up to October 2nd, we wanted to take a moment and have different members of the church write a little entry to highlight the year and to highlight what God has been doing in their life and in the church. Our hope is that you will be encouraged in your faith and the praise would go directly to God.

Behind the Scenes

You may be asking ,”What did you do for a year?” Let me share with you some of the “behind the scenes” stories. Our very first Sunday, as a church, we hit the ground running. Our first Sunday service wasn’t any different than any other Sunday worship time. We had morning scripture; we had scriptural reading; we had a sermon and we had a closing set of announcements. Right after? We had congregational prayer meeting which is now the norm for our church. In and of itself, it wasn’t anything extra special. In my mind, we didn’t have the time or the resources to think of something jaw-dropping; we needed to set the foundation for Sunday Worship. In this, the leadership team (including myself) saw God’s gracious providence. Our first meeting place came to be only because another church had heard about our need and offered us a 9:00am time! As if that weren’t enough, their church was merciful to offer the time and place for no rent! We were so loved and nurtured by H.O.P.E church. Six months later, we moved the First Baptist Church in San Diego. Like H.O.P.E, they also offered us use of a fellowship hall that was free and available at 9:00am. We moved in and set up our church in Clairemont Mesa and that’s where we’ve been since. In the initial six months, our leadership team rose to the challenge and we started tackling administrative issues. We started to put in writing documents such as the vision statement and our church bylaws and so many of the documents you may find on our website. Particularly, I wanted to challenge our worship leaders, so Chris Chan, Lynn Chyi, Caleb Chao, and I sat down and watched a series of sermons on worship by John Piper. It was such a sweet time of true biblical fellowship. It was just us men sitting together and hearing God’s Word preached clearly and listening to John Piper draw out for us the importance of worship. I like to think it still affects us and impacts the way we structure our worship time.

The Importance of Prayer

I also learned the importance of prayer. You have to just bathe the whole process in prayer — constant prayer. Prayer was the remedy to any anxiousness and worry in my heart. I know the truth that when we take our worries and concerns to the Father in Heaven, He is gracious to hear and gracious to answer. But to go through that period and to actually put into practice that lesson was invaluable to me.

Our Blog

Now, I hope you the reader will be blessed to hear from others in our church. The church I serve and love is not MY church but our church, “our” being the members–the men, women and children who attend, sit and listen to God’s Word and act upon God’s Word. It is their church just as much as it is mine. It’s our community. Most importantly though, Redeemer’s Grace is God’s church. Throughout the next month we will continue to see writings from the members of this church. We hope you enjoy reading what they have to write.

The Inaugural Service, Oct. 2

From the editor: Mark your calendars for this Sunday. We will be hosting a celebration event with guest speaker Pastor Patrick Cho. Go on over to the inaugural service page for more information as well as a cool interview with Pastor Chris.

Greetings RGC Friends and Family

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. I hope this letter finds you all doing well in our Lord and enjoying this Thanksgiving holiday by His grace alone. It is customary to share with family and friends around the dinner table “What are you thankful for?” While I am not present to celebrate with you, I wanted to express a few things I am thankful for:

I am thankful for a congregation that believes in the Gospel and the reality of this glorious truth and it’s impact in your lives (1 Thess 2:13). Our church will only continue to grow and to develop as we dive deeper into His Word. In addition, the impact His Word has on our lives will increase which is only possible through the Gospel and the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

I am thankful for a congregation that has a large and high view of God, Christ and His Word. I praise the Lord for your steadfastness in being obedient to His Word and submitting your entire life to God’s Will–namely, that you be holy, righteous and demonstrate your faith through good works.

I am thankful for a congregation that believes in sin, the effects of sin and the desperate need for the God the Father to send His Son to save us from our sins, to call His own to submit their lives to the Son who gives new life through the new covenant that has been secured through Christ’s blood.

I am thankful for a congregation that honestly desires to glorify GOD and magnify Him through your eager desire to pursue holiness and faithfully believes that the Holy Spirit brings everlasting change (cf. 2 Cor 3:11, 18; Phil 3:21; John 1:1-14; Heb 8:8-13) to an everlasting glory in His Son.

I know there are more things to be thankful for and I do not have the space or time to list all of them. Even though we have officially been in service for three months, I remain excited about our potential and the possibilities that exist for the church. I hope we are all committed and united and that our greatest goal is to make disciples of all peoples and all nations which strongly encourages us and challenges us to live faithfully, to love others with God-centered focus and to evangelize. As we trust in God and faithfully cling to His promises and His Word, we will continue to grow and to strive together. I know the road ahead is long and hard but I wanted to exhort each of you to strive ahead in building long-lasting relationships in the church and among the body of believers. The process in building our community is literally brick by brick or if you will, soul by soul. Let us build our community through intentional and careful discipleship which is grounded in God’s love and our love for God and to people. I personally challenge you to spend your time together at dinner (or lunch) to share with others your thankfulness and to listen to others sharing.

I hope you all have a great thanksgiving vacation. I leave you with these words from Paul to the Thessalonian church. “Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints” (1 Thess. 3:11-13).

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