My daughter recently gave birth to her second child (my second grandchild). After the birth, she sent out many pictures to the family and her friends. My favorite picture is the one posted above. It shows the exuberant joy that she had after her labor was finished and her daughter was upon her chest. The intensity of the moment is obvious.
It reminded me of the words of Jesus, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world” (John 16:21). This was my daughter’s experience. She suffered the long, painful labor. But the joy of the moment seems to have overshadowed all the pain that she endured.
Now, Jesus said this by way of illustration. His point was that the experience of a mother giving birth to a child is similar to the life of his disciples. When Jesus was crucified upon the cross, they would sorrow. But, Jesus said, “Your sorrow will turn into joy” (John 16:20). Jesus later explained their joy would come when they saw Jesus, risen from the dead. “You have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you” (John 16:22). How true this was! The disciples were joyful people, even when being persecuted for preaching the resurrection of Jesus (Acts 5:41).
This is true of followers of Christ today. There may be sorrow today and hurtful consequences for following Jesus, but when we have the opportunity to see him again (either in our death or in his coming), we too will have joy. Nobody will be able to take this joy from us, as we will be in that place where every tear is wiped away and death is no more, nor will there be mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4). Let’s learn from my daughter’s joy!