Read: John 16:16–22
Bible in a Year: Psalms 103–104; 1 Corinthians 2
You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.—John 16:20
Kelly’s pregnancy brought complications, and doctors were concerned. During her long labor, they decided to whisk her away for a Cesarean section. But despite the ordeal, Kelly quickly forgot her pain when she held her newborn son. Joy had replaced anguish.
Scripture affirms this truth: “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” (John 16:21). Jesus used this illustration with His disciples to emphasize that though they would grieve because He would be leaving soon, that grief would turn to joy when they saw Him again (vv. 20–22).
Jesus was referring to His death and resurrection—and what followed. After His resurrection, to the disciples’ joy, Jesus spent another forty days walking with and teaching them before ascending and leaving them once again (Acts 1:3). Yet Jesus did not leave them grief-stricken. The Holy Spirit would fill them with joy (John 16:7–15; Acts 13:52).
Though we have never seen Jesus face to face, as believers we have the assurance that one day we will. In that day, the anguish we face in this earth will be forgotten. But until then, the Lord has not left us without joy—He has given us His Spirit (Rom. 15:13; 1 Peter 1:8–9). —Alyson Kieda
Dear Lord, we long to be in Your presence, especially when we face pain and sorrow. Yet You have not left us on our own. The Holy Spirit lives within us—and gives us joy.
One day our sorrow will be turned to joy!
INSIGHT: After Jesus told His disciples about His coming betrayal and death (John 13), they were discouraged (14:1, 27). Jesus comforted them with the promise of heaven and the coming Holy Spirit (14:1-21; 15:26-16:15). Like the pain a woman experiences in childbirth, their suffering was temporary (16:21). The baby that causes the pain also provides the occasion for celebration. Bible teacher Warren Wiersbe writes in The Bible Exposition Commentary: “God brings joy to our lives, not by substitution, but by transformation. In birth, God does not substitute something else to relieve the mother’s pain. Instead, He uses what is there already but transforms it.”
How has Jesus transformed your pain into peace, joy, and victory? Sim Kay Tee