Today’s Scripture: John 16
“What level is your pain right now, honey?” I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked that question, but it is a high number. Having given birth to five children naturally, I can honestly say I’ve had a 10 out of 10 pain level. The moments before a child comes into the world are surrounded in pain, but the moment that baby comes into the world and you hear him or her scream, your pain subsides and joy fills your soul. As crazy as the first hours after birth are, they have been some of my most treasured memories. In today’s passage, Jesus likens the grief his disciples will experience after his death to the pain a woman experiences in childbirth.
20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 21 It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. 22 So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy.
Jesus had been preparing his disciples for his upcoming death. He didn’t want them to be taken by surprise, so he sought to warn them for what was going to be their most painful moments on Earth.
They had come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah. They were waiting for him to come to power and show the world what he could really do, yet they did not understand his mission. They didn’t understand that for him to conquer the world, he needed to die—to be conquered. They didn’t understand that when he left them, he was going to send the Holy Spirit who would never leave them. They had to go through pain to experience greater joy and life. Like a woman in labor, they had to experience unspeakable pain before experiencing the unspeakable joy of his resurrection.
As Christ followers, we should look different than the world around us. Many in our culture view Christians as intolerant and judgmental when we stand for what the Bible says. Christians around the world are subjected to persecution because of their faith. Jesus has assured us, however, that while we may have troubles or pain on this Earth, he has ultimately overcome the world.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.
Do you find it difficult to stand up for what the Bible says is true? Do the trials of this Earth overwhelm you? In whom does your hope rest?
Memorize John 16:33. Write it on a notecard and put it in a place where you will regularly see it. The next time you feel like you’re drowning in the sea of culture and unable to stand up for the truth, remember those words and take heart. This world is not all that there is. Jesus is our ultimate overcomer.
Jesus, Lord of my life, thank you for coming to bring us hope and joy. Remind us of your ultimate victory when we feel overcome by the world. Thank you that we can cry out to you when we are struggling and can be comforted by the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your promise that you have overcome the world. Amen.
This post was written by Julie Mabus. Julie has a passion for thinking about big ideas, art, reading, and seeing God reveal himself through creation. She is married and is homeschooling her five young children.
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