‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. (John 16:19-20)
The time was drawing near. How would Jesus’ disciples bear to watch as their Teacher was beaten, bruised and left to die? How could Jesus begin to prepare these men, His dearest friends, for what was to come? He wanted to offer them words that would bring them comfort when He was gone, but they did not understand. They 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…We don’t understand what he is saying.” (John 16:17-18) How could they begin to grasp the beauty of the cross that was to come, and the extraordinary Love that would provide a perfect lamb, the Son, to atone for the sins of all mankind and then be risen in the fullness of His Glory? These things were all too wonderful to understand.
Three years earlier, these men, ordinary by the world’s standard, left everything to follow Jesus. Their hearts were moved by His words of truth and they were amazed by the many miracles He performed ~ a blind man healed, a lame man walking again, and a dead man raised to life ~ these things the disciples knew, they saw them with their own eyes, and so they believed that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, come to save them. They could not understand Him, but He was their everything, and all their hope was in Him. Day after day they followed Him as He ministered to the lost and hurting people of the world. Day after day they grew in their faith and love.
Then He was hung on a cross. It was finished.
He was gone.
So often in this life, we are faced with these kinds of moments where things will never be the same. Our lives may be filled with powerful ministries where people are being changed, where we are growing, learning, and enjoying sweet times of fellowship with the Lord, just as the disciples were, when out of nowhere we are faced with something we did not want or expect and life as we had known it is gone. It may be sitting in the doctor’s office and finding out that you have cancer, or it may be that phone call informing you that your loved ones were just killed in an accident. Maybe you were asked to gather your things after years of faithful service to your company, and escorted to the door. This life-changing, life-shattering moment could come in many forms: divorce, death, devastation from floods, tornados, earthquakes, or tsunamis, a financial crisis, a health crisis’ the loss of a child. It could come from the loss of a parent, a grandparent, a brother or sister; or the loss of anything else near and dear to our hearts. It may be that we have had to look betrayal in the face from an unfaithful spouse, or the prospect of not ever being able to bear a child. Honestly, this life can beat us down and knock us over in so many ways. As Jesus told his disciples, “You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices.” We will weep and mourn, but Jesus also promised that the grief will turn to joy.
I can only imagine the shock and pain the followers of Christ felt the day after His crucifixion. Everything they thought they believed was in question. Could they have been wrong? Even if they held on to their belief, Jesus was their dearest friend and the loss would have been too much to bear. Saturday is a day of silence. Nothing is said in Scripture about how these men reacted. What were they thinking, how were they feeling or what they were doing while they were waiting for their grief to be turned to joy? They did not know it then, but Sunday was coming. The power of God was waiting to be revealed.
As daughters of the King, we have that same power of God within us so when we are faced with grief, or fear of what lies ahead, we can hold on to the One who will bring our joy, until that same power that raised Jesus from the dead shows up in our lives. Sisters, we can wait expectantly, even if in tears, knowing that our Sunday is coming. I have experienced much pain and loss in my life, and have known days where I didn’t even know if I could carry on. When facing the loss of my unborn child, the depths of grief seemed to be unending, but our hope is not in what we may feel or how our present situations turn out. Our Hope is in Jesus who is risen! And His resurrection power will turn our grief into joy and our joy will be complete.
Sunday did come for the disciples, and in seeing their risen Lord, the things He had shown them and taught them became clear. We, as His beloved ones in this generation, have His very Spirit within us, and He compels us to worship the God who would give His one and only Son. And worship that very Son, who for love faced the cross for you and for me. This amazing love is our joy in the waiting for our pain and frustration in this world to pass. It is our joy because our Saviour has overcome this world. He overcame the grave. He is alive. He is risen! Hallelujah! Amen!