Encouragement, Joy, Promises, Truth

Sorrow to Joy

“A little while and you will see me no longer, and again a little while and you will see me.” John 16:16

You really have to feel sorry for the disciples at times as they tried to understand all that Jesus told them. They were just getting their heads around the parables when it seemed that Jesus also spoke to them in riddles. I can imagine the quizzical looks on their faces as they asked each other, ‘what is he saying?’ and ‘what does he mean?’

No matter how he tried, Jesus would never be able to fully prepare the disciples for the coming event. I’m sure they knew that he would not walk with them forever but I’m also sure that they didn’t expect his departure to be so soon. Jesus tried to protect them from the pain of what was to come, for as long as possible. He had said to them, just a short time before, “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” He was now laying things out a little more –

“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… You will have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

Up until now, with Jesus by their side, it would not have been appropriate for them to display their sorrow, which had been pointed out to the Pharisees on a previous occasion – “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them…” That day was fast approaching and Jesus wanted to assure them that their sadness would only be for a short period of time; joy would soon follow.

There is so much about this passage that I love, especially the words, no one will take your joy from you. The joy of the Lord is a real living presence within every believer. I understand that there may be times of not feeling joyful but that is based on earthly circumstances that affect us on a purely human level. The joy of the Lord still exists in those times. It is like an underground stream just waiting for the first crack in the surface so that it can flow up and out and surround us once again.

We will all experience sorrow, but it is for a time and it will pass, as the Psalmist says, ‘Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.’ I pray that you experience the joy of the Lord bubbling up within you today.

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