[Jesus said] “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
Joy Victorious Over Circumstance
Devotion based on John 16:20-22
See series: Devotions
Jesus statement that “a woman giving birth to a child has pain” needs no explanation for those who have given birth to a child. Childbirth is painful. His statement that “when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish” also needs no explanation for any new mother who has cradled her newborn in her arms for the very first time. It’s not that the labor pain didn’t happen. It’s not that the new mother’s body has healed in any way by the time the new child is delivered. Rather, the joy of holding her new child is so great it overwhelms all the immense pain.
Jesus promised the same type of experience for his disciples. “You will grieve,” he said, as he alluded to the grief that would consume them as they would soon witness Jesus’ arrest, suffering, crucifixion, and death. They would grieve in other ways as well, just as we do, living with sinful hearts in a sinful world that regularly rebels against God’s Word.
But though the circumstances of our lives in this world cause real grief, the victory of Jesus on our behalf is great enough to overwhelm it. One day, that will happen in eternity as God “will wipe every tear from [our] eyes” (Revelation 21:4). And, just as the woman in labor finds strength to endure her labor pains in the knowledge that her joy is coming, so also Christians find daily strength to endure our grief knowing our victory is coming; for Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins is completed and his victory over death is already won.
Lord Jesus, by your death and resurrection, give me daily strength to endure the hard circumstances of earthly life in anticipation of my final victory that is already won. Amen.
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