Labor Pains

John 16:16-22

16 “A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me.” 17 Some of His disciples then said to one another, “What is this thing He is telling us, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me’; and, ‘because I go to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What is this that He says, ‘A little while’? We do not know what He is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wished to question Him, and He said to them,“Are you deliberating together about this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy. 21 Whenever a woman is in labor she has pain, because her hour has come; but when she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy that a child has been born into the world. 22 Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.

It is easy for us to read this and nod in affirmation. Just about all of us have heard how the story ends and therefore, this exchange makes sense to us. Instead of skimming through it though, let’s put ourselves in their sandals. Let’s try to understand the weight of this situation.

They just got done listening to Jesus talk about His looming death and while they see to be grasping where He is going, they still don’t want Him to leave. But now He is taking it a step further. This goes beyond what He was saying about the Holy Spirit being sent once He “goes to the Father.” As they are still wrapping their heads around this, Jesus says that the upcoming period of time (He doesn’t give a specific time period) will be like giving birth to a child. I can’t help but chuckle at the fact that they are all men and none of them have given birth. They have wives that have probably given birth and they understand the concept, but they do not fully grasp what it means. Why does Jesus say these things to them? Why does He “tell the future” in cryptic messages? If we go back to John 14:29, we will recall that He said, “29 Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe.”

None of this truly sunk in until it happened. Isn’t that the point of prophesy? It amazes me how much time people spend in the book of Revelation trying to predict the future with it and ignoring all the books before it. I’m not saying it isn’t important. In fact, it is very important because of exactly what Jesus said in John 14. However, it isn’t until that time that it will make sense. Just as we will read later in John that immediately the disciples remember what Jesus had said and they believed because it was fulfilled.

What then is our hope? The entirety of the bible is a record of God’s faithfulness to His word. Whenever God does something in the bible, we can go back and find where He said it would come to pass. God is true to His word. I say this not only because the bible says He is or proves He is, but because I have experienced it in my own life.

Where are you in this process today? Are you waiting to go into labor? Are you experiencing the labor pains? Or are you on the other side, realizing that what you went through was not only worth it, but is worth going through again?

Does His joy fill your heart today? Trade your sorrows and pain for joy that cannot be taken away.

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