Jn.16:22,23 – Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one is going to take your joy away from you.

This passage is hard to hear when you are going through pain, but you can hold on to it as a source of strength as you pass from sorrow into joy. I can remember a story from my tree planting days in Bible School that is quite embarrassing to me but it makes the point of this passage. Parris and I had been married a little over a year and I was asked to go on a tree planting trip and leave her and our firstborn son at home. I had never been separated from Parris since our marriage and this two week excursion living in tents seemed like the end of the world to me. The trip in the work trucks from California to Oregon seemed endless and I was in a dark place feeling sorry for myself. I began to read my Bible and this verse hit me like a ton of bricks. This verse became my anchor until Parris and Jeremy came to join me in Klamath Falls, Oregon a couple of weeks later. My sorrow was turned to joy. Here is how Chrysotom describes this passage.

“Jesus used a comparison that the prophets frequently employed, comparing sufferings with the excessive pains of childbirth. What he meant is something like this: “Sufferings like birth pangs will lay hold of you, but the pain of childbirth is a cause of joy.” This confirms his words about the resurrection and shows that his departure from them was like passing from the womb into the light of day. It is as though he had said, “Don’t be amazed that I bring you to what is profitable for you by way of such sorrow, since even a mother, to become a mother, passes in a similar way through pain.” Here also he implies something mystical, that he has removed the birth pangs of death and caused a new person to be born of them. Furthermore, he not only said that the pain shall pass away but also that “she does not even remember it,” so great is the joy that follows; so also shall it be with the saints.”

The disciples were grieving because Jesus was leaving them the next day; the resurrection would turn their sorrow into joy. We all face different kinds of sorrow and disappointment in this life, the good news is that God’s word strengthens us in these dark times. We often don’t understand why we face the heartbreak and pain of life, God’s word is our strength in those seasons.

1 thought on “SORROW SWALLOWED UP BY JOY”

  1. Amen !!! We serve an AMAZING and faithful GOD!!!( He is a good , good father THAT’s who he is )!!

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