Today I’m going to a baby shower for a good friend who is having twins. I’ve given birth 5 times over and there’s nothing like it. Seeing your child for the first time is like a dream. I always feel so much joy for those first time moms preparing for the big arrival of their own bundle of joy (or in her case a double bundle!). There’s so much excitement and happiness, but I also recognize the uncertainty they face as they contemplate giving birth. You can read books and articles and talk to moms and doctors, but you never really know what it’s like until you’re there.
Jesus uses the example of child birth to make a point about his death and resurrection in John 16. He says, 20I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn over what is going to happen to me, but the world will rejoice. You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy. 21It will be like a woman suffering the pains of labor. When her child is born, her anguish gives way to joy because she has brought a new baby into the world. 22So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy
Just before Jesus’ crucifixion, He predicts his death, trying to warn His disciples of what is to come. He doesn’t stop with his death, but lets them know that is not the end. He will see them again they will rejoice. But the dying part. That will be very hard on them. They will grieve.
What if Jesus didn’t die? They would not have experienced the grief that went along with His dying. But the price for our sins would have never been paid. We can never know true joy apart from the finished work Christ did on the Christ. Grief is often the vehicle used to arrive at great joy.
But I can’t imagine being the mother of Jesus or His friends and watching Him suffer and die. We learn from scripture that even though Christ told them He would rise from the dead, they did not understand fully. They thought His death was the end. But in truth, it was only the beginning. It was the beginning of a new world, new life and new hearts. His death and resurrection bought our freedom from the bondage of sin and the gift of life eternal.
The grief and heartache the disciples, Mary and the other women felt at Christ’s death was natural. But it was a necessary path to joy as Jesus rose from the dead. I’ve gone through natural child birth and can testify to the scripture just mentioned in John. The labor and pain was intense, but the very second I heard my babies cry I no longer remembered the pain. I only knew joy. An 8 pound+ bundle of joy. But the joy would not have come without the pain.
So, I ask you today friends, what hardship might you be going through in this season in your life? Is it possible that it is the vehicle that God is using to carry you to the joy that is ahead? Is it possible that it is the path to new life or a new heart? Is it possible that it is the vehicle to see the most amazing work of God in your life? Take heart, as Jesus said, no one can rob you of that joy.