Sorrow turned to Joy

Read through the Bible in 2 years: John 16

"Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you." - John 16:20-22 ESV

When I look at this picture, which was taken just moments after my youngest son was born, so many memories of that day flood back into my mind. After laboring into the wee hours of the night, I’d gotten my first epidural out of a crazy need for some rest, only to find myself overwhelmed by a intense feeling of panic when I couldn’t take a deep breath or feel my legs.

Yet, when that baby boy was delivered, all 8 pounds 15 ounces of him, I was even more overwhelmed by a feeling of ecstasy and joy, unexplainable to anyone who has never delivered a baby.

All the pain and exhaustion was worth it, the very instant that little boy drew his first breath and let out his first cry.

Just as friends try to prepare a new mom for the pain of labor and delivery, Jesus was trying to prepare His disciples for the great sorrow they would experience at His upcoming death and departure. An important part of that preparation that many experienced moms forget to share, is the immense JOY that you will experience after the pain is over.

Friends, listen to me, someday it will be worth it! Soon and very soon we are going to see the king! And there will be no more crying there. In this world we will indeed have tribulation, but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.

We don’t need to try to take shortcuts to avoid the pain, hiding our lights under bushels so no one can see them, drowning our sorrows in Facebook and food. Instead, we can rejoice today because we know with certainty that these labor pains are only temporary and that they will all be worth it when we see our Savior face to face.

Will you please join me in prayer?

Heavenly Father,

You are our hope in life and death. Help us to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. Help us to fix our minds on things that are above. Help us to number our hours and days, knowing that these times are in fact short and these trials are indeed light, in comparison to the eternal weight of glory that is to come.

We pray for those who are in the depths of sorrow today, who are at the peak of the incredible pain of labor, who can’t seem to make out that light at the end of this valley of despair. Father, please, be their comfort and help them to see Your everlasting arms carrying them and Your loving hand guiding them through this dark valley. Use us to encourage them. Help us to grieve with those who grieve just as deeply as we rejoice with those who rejoice.

We pray for those who are without hope today because they are without Christ. We pray that You will open their eyes and soften their hearts to the everlasting gospel of Jesus Christ who bore their punishment by His death on the cross. May today be their day of salvation, that many will rejoice with the angels over one lost sinner who repents!

In the holy name of Jesus we pray. Amen

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