John 16.21-22 cont.
21 When a woman gives birth she has pain because her time has come, but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers her distress, because of the joy she has that a man has been born into the world.
22 And now, therefore, you have pain; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.
Perhaps most people dread going to the dentist. It is the dread of pain. There is the thought of having to have an injection, especially if it is at the very front of the mouth. Then there is the fear of any pain during the time our teeth are being drilled. Following this there is the fear of the pain we might experience once the anaesthetic has worn off.
However, we know that we must go through this pain in order to have the joy of being pain free after our treatment.
Jesus told the disciples that they were about to experience a terrible time of pain, and He compared it to being like a woman giving birth. It is a very painful experience, but is soon forgotten when her baby is born.
The disciples would experience their sorrow and grief turning into joy.
The sorrow and grief they were to experience was the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus. The joy they were to experience was to see their resurrected Lord, and to see Him ascend into Heaven.
Their joy was to become even greater as they were baptized in the Holy Spirit a few weeks later.
For thousands of believers today they are experiencing terrible sorrow, pain, and grief, as the world persecutes them for being followers of Jesus. Yet for them and all believers there is the joy of the Holy Spirit that no one can remove from us.
It is a deep seated joy that enables us to withstand the attacks of this world and the devil.
Nehemiah encouraged the people to continue the building work on the walls of Jerusalem, and he spoke these well known words:
“Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!” – Nehemiah 8.10 (NLT).
Our joy is based in knowing Jesus. It is based in knowing that there is a greater joy to come, and that will be when we see Jesus face to face, either when we die, or, if we are still on this earth when He returns. It will be when we are raised into the air to meet with Him.
Therefore, let the joy of the Lord strengthen us, whatever trials we may have to go through.