SORROW TURNED INTO JOY

Scripture Reading:  John 16:16-24

“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.”  (John 16:20)

Grasping the truths of the gospel will bring inexpressible joy into our lives.  When we look through the lens of the gospel, we see things differently: we see from God’s perspective.

The disciples were troubled and confused.  Jesus told them:  “A little while and you will not see Me, and again a little while, and you will see Me” (v. 17).  Jesus was preparing them for His departure into heaven.  They were filled with sorrow and fear.  Yet Jesus told them:  “But your sorrow will turn into joy.”  And, indeed, it did!  When the disciples received the lens of the gospel, they saw the big picture.  Jesus would die, but He would be resurrected and they would see Him again.  Jesus would ascend into heaven, but He would come again to take them to be with Him forever (John 14:3).  Jesus would not leave them as orphans while they were on this earth, but He would send the Holy Spirit to live within them ((John 14:15-18).  Their sorrow turned into joy that no one could take away from them (v. 22).

God made a promise to His people when they were in captivity in Babylon:  “I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:13b).  In spite of their difficult and painful circumstances, God promised to comfort them and to turn their sorrow into joy!

We will all face times of mourning and grief; but God promises to comfort us with His presence:  “Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5b).  In our grief, we will find joy when we delight in the Lord’s presence and experience His comfort.  He promises:  “You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness” (Psalm 30:11).

We must not attempt to short-cut the grief we face.  When painful losses come, we will experience grief and mourning.  Do not attempt to by-pass the grief, but look at Jesus and remember His pain and suffering.  “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed” (I Peter 4:12-13).  When we see our suffering through the lens of the gospel, we will rejoice in the fact that we can share to a very small degree the suffering Christ went through for us.  Jesus understands what we are facing and He will comfort us and He will turn our sorrow into joy for we know that one day we will behold His glory.

Lord Jesus on many occasions in my life You have turned my sorrow into joy.  You have comforted me in my grief and given me hope when things looked dim.  When I see You and remember your suffering on my behalf, my perspective changes.  I can rejoice because I can share to a very small degree Your sufferings.  And I have the hope of glory in my mind and heart.

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