Sadness Will Be Turned to Joy

16“In a little while you won’t see me anymore. But a little while after that, you will see me again.”

17Some of the disciples asked each other, “What does he mean when he says, ‘In a little while you won’t see me, but then you will see me,’ and ‘I am going to the Father’?18And what does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand.”

19Jesus realized they wanted to ask him about it, so he said, “Are you asking yourselves what I meant? I said in a little while you won’t see me, but a little while after that you will see me again.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.23At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name.24You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.

25“I have spoken of these matters in figures of speech, but soon I will stop speaking figuratively and will tell you plainly all about the Father.26Then you will ask in my name. I’m not saying I will ask the Father on your behalf,27for the Father himself loves you dearly because you love me and believe that I came from God.28Yes, I came from the Father into the world, and now I will leave the world and return to the Father.”

29Then his disciples said, “At last you are speaking plainly and not figuratively.30Now we understand that you know everything, and there’s no need to question you. From this we believe that you came from God.”

31Jesus asked, “Do you finally believe?32But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when you will be scattered, each one going his own way, leaving me alone. Yet I am not alone because the Father is with me.33I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”

Can you imagine the intense sorrow and disappointment the disciples felt when Jesus, the person they all loved dearly, the person most of them had quit their jobs and left their families behind to follow, the person they thought would conquer the world and make Israel a military powerhouse again, was captured, tortured and killed?  Can you imagine the great joy they felt when they saw him again and he was obviously more “alive” than anyone they had ever known?  The emotional swing would be incomprehensibile…if it didn’t happen to most of.

Sometimes in the life of a Christian, God allows us to go through a “dark night of the soul”.  It is a period where he seems completely absent and we feel intensely empty and alone.  Often our personal lives are experiencing sorrow or turmoil at the same time.  It can be an unbelieveably sad and trying time.  And then when we come out of it, we experience his joy and peace as never before.  We are amazed.  This is the type of experience the Footprints story most of us have read at one time or another is based upon.

So why does this happen?  I’m sure I don’t know all the reasons, but I know a few.  Having our faith tested and pushed prepares us for future times of trial.  When you’ve lasted through a “dark night of the soul”, you handle future crisis with a calmness and faith you could never have managed before.  This experience often calls me to check my life and my priorities and realize the the true source of my joy and peace is the Lord himself, not my job or my stuff or anything else in this world. 

And finally, think about how differently the disciples saw Jesus after the resurrection than they did before.  Gone was the worldly conqueror and king with riches and power.  That image was replaced with something they couldn’t even imagine before:  a immortal king of all the universe who valued their love over all the riches this world could ever offer and loved them enough to die for them. 

Lord, help me to know you as you are and to know your love and joy and peace and power.  Change me Lord, change me.  *obbs*