Just like a blog title can tell you something about what is going to be written below so can the titles inside the Bible. The title of John 16:16-33 is The Disciples' Grief Will Turn to Joy (NIV). Most people do not expect to see the words grief and joy in the same sentence, I mean really. It is basically an oxymoron (which is a word that I love, I mean, such a cool word to mean combining contradictory terms. But I digress).
How many people actually use the word joy and grief in the same sentence, in a normal day, outside of Church?
Probably not to many.
For John 16:16-33 that title really says it all. So that you don't have to take time to look up the verses here they are for you:
The Disciples’ Grief Will Turn to Joy
Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
At this, some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”
Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’?Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”
“Do you now believe?” Jesus replied. “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
What a bunch of loaded verses.
I don't think it was an accident that I chose to write the last post and consequently looked up John 16:33 and then decided to see what the context was. The fact that Jesus compared the disciples grief to a women in labor...Labor is hard. I have been through it twice now, neither time with any pain meds, so I have felt the full effects. I can understand the comparison. There were times during labor that I was ready to give up and wanted an easy fix, some thing to take the pain away. Similarly, like I said in my last post about just forgetting so that the pain would go away, my pain of grief.
The joy comes when that child is born, and the pain is forgotten. For me I see the joy in several ways. The first and most obvious is that I will have joy when I am reunited with Emily when we are in Heaven. But another joy is in continuing to live life and focus on the fact that her life had meaning and that the Lord can use her short live and her death to impact His Kingdom. For me, the pain will still be there until we are reunited in Heaven, but with the Lord's help and time it will hurt less.
Jesus told the disciples a lot more than they could comprehend and at times this overwhelmed them, but in verse 33 He told them why. He told them those things, "so that they could have peace in Him." We do not always have to understand what has happened, but He has promised that in those times He will give us peace knowing that he has overcome the world.
I have one last thing to share about these verses that I have kind of applied to myself. Jesus said in “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
For me: I got to see Emily for a time, now I no longer see her, but in a little while I will see her again. I am sure this is not what the verse means in any way, shape, or form. But I am sure you understand what I am getting at, it is a comfort to me.