October 30, 2017
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. John 16:21-22
During the birth of our four children, I had two jobs: Keep a cool cloth on my wife's forehead and keep spooning ice into her mouth. I started out as the "Breathing Coach." But my "hee, hee, hee's" were not well received for some reason, and I got fired early in the first labor. I liked the title "Breathing Coach" much better than "Cool Cloth Boy" and "Ice Boy" but such is life. Labor is ... well ... labor, and keeping the cool cloths and ice coming was not easy work. And I'm sure it wasn't easy for Lori either. But when each baby was born and the doctor said, "It's a girl!" "It's a boy!" "It's a girl!" "It's a girl!" our hearts melted in pure joy at God's blessing and miracle.
Jesus knew that His disciples were getting ready to go through a tough stretch. He likened the emotions that they were going to experience something similar to a woman giving birth. His time on earth was drawing to a close. The dreaded cross was days away. The disciples would see Jesus go through the most excruciating death (in fact the word excruciate means "out of the cross"). They would experience pain. Their Master would appear helpless. It would seem that God had taken away the power of the One who ruled over nature, sickness, and death. All His promises would turn to questions in the minds of the disciples. Was He really who He said He was? Did they follow an imposter? Had they followed a pipedream? But then ... on the third day ... He rose from the dead. New life! Great joy replaced great anguish. He was exactly who He said He was! And His words were true, "I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy."
Today that same promise is yours. You may be experiencing a difficult time, a time of pain and grief. But whatever this life brings, listen to the great promise of our Lord: "I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." The fact of the resurrection finally drives out all pain, sorrow, loss, and tears. The resurrection replaces our present anguish with great joy.
Father, thank You for the present and eternal joy that comes because You raised Your Son from the dead. Because You raised Jesus, we know You can and will raise us as well, and we will spend eternity with You. Give resurrection confidence to those going through a rough time. Remind them that joy is coming ... a joy that no one can take away. In Jesus' name. Amen.