Pain Turned to Joy
July 24, 2022
Now Jesus knew that they desired to ask Him, and He said to them, "Are you inquiring among yourselves about what I said, 'A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me'? Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you. "And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full (John16:19-24).
There are a couple of reasons why Jesus used parables to illustrate spiritual truths. (1) Parables would help the disciples understand the truth of the Kingdom of God. Because it has been given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 13:11), and (2) to hide the truth of the Kingdom of God from those who will not believe in Him. . . . but to them it has not been given. For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand (Matthew 13:11-13).
Well thought out and timely placed illustrations help people understand, in practical terms, what is being taught. Therefore, Jesus used the parable of a woman in childbirth to illustrate that although the disciples were experiencing spiritual depression and emotional pain over the approaching death of Jesus, and His absence from them, they would, in time, experience spiritual joy and emotional satisfaction through His resurrection, ascension, coming of the Holy Spirit, and the coming of the promised earthly Kingdom.
Most of us have experienced this same parable in our own lives. I well remember when our first daughter was being born, Nancy was in such pain and misery that she said she didn’t want to experience pregnancy again. However, several months after Anna was born, Nancy had a change of heart. It seemed the intense pain of childbirth had given way to joy in motherhood.
In the same way the disciples experienced short-term emotional and spiritual pain and sorrow at the approaching absence of Jesus through His death, resurrection, and ascension. But Jesus said they would see Him again (John 16:16,19,22). They would rejoice in that truth when Jesus was resurrected and spent 40 days with them before His ascension. They would rejoice in knowing that He would return for them and take them to the place He had prepared for them in heaven. They would rejoice in the promise of His second coming and the establishment of His Kingdom on the earth for 1,000 years. Nothing, and no one, would be able to take that joy from them. In the midst of our sorrows and pain living in a sin condemned world, may that be our joy as well. Amen.