In Romans 9:2 the Apostle Paul made a statement which might surprise many people. He wrote: “I have great sorrow, and unceasing grief in my heart.” This is not a light or passing sentiment. Notice the two adjectives he employs: “great” sorrow, and “unceasing” grief. It is a deep and continual pain he is describing. What is the source of this unrelenting emotion?
In :3 Paul explains the cause of these feelings. He says it is: “for the sake of my brethren …” who are lost and do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Paul had such a concern for the lost state of his own countrymen that he lived with a continual burden for them.
This is so contrary to what many people are taught about “Christianity”: that God will make you happy, get “drama” out of your life so you can enjoy it, etc. But here in Romans we find a man who is quite possibly the most godly person who ever lived, other than Jesus Christ, and he has this “unceasing grief”.
Perhaps, contrary to all we’ve heard and been taught all these years, the measure of a godly person is not how “happy” they are all the time, but how unceasingly sorrowful, as they bear in their souls the burdens of the lost and hurting individuals around them. Those who do so are in good company: they are like Paul, and most importantly, they are like Jesus Christ Himself. Those who do not feel deeply the spiritual burdens of others cannot claim to be like Him who was characterized as “a man of sorrows.”
Thus the greatest Christian you know may not be the one who is always “happy”. He may be the one who, like Paul, has an “unceasing grief” in his heart for the needs of those around him.