Devotional

Turning Sorrow into Joy, in Just a Little While (John 16:16-22 Devotional)

16 “A little while, and you will see me no longer; and again a little while, and you will see me.” 17 So some of his disciples said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you will not see me, and again a little while, and you will see me’; and, ‘because I am going to the Father’?” 18 So they were saying, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We do not know what he is talking about.” 19 Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Is this what you are asking yourselves, what I meant by saying, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? 20 Truly, truly, I say to you, you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy. 21 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. 22 So also 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 16:16-22 ESV

Sometimes suffering and sorrow are inevitable.  They are inevitable because they are part of the process to bring out joy.  To illustrate this, our Lord used the beautiful figure of childbirth. A woman has to go through painful child labor to deliver her bundle of joy.  Jesus himself had to experience pain, suffering, and death on the cross to bring forth salvation.   The disciples were concerned about “how long” that “little while” of separation from Jesus” was, and “why”.  But when Jesus answers the troubled disciples, instead of addressing the time, His answer focuses on the process and the result that is certain to follow.  The process was “you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful.”. (v20) He would not spare them from anguish and lament, because it is true that the Lord they followed had to die and be away from them.  But the result that would certainly follow was that – “but your sorrow will turn into joy”(v20) and “I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” (v22).  God’s will is not to replace our sorrow with joy, but to turn sorrow into joy.  Jesus saw the cross He had to face, but He also saw the empty tomb and His victory to come.  And all of these would happen in just “a little while”. 

When we face trials in life, we too would question “how long will this last?” That  “little while” may seem forever if our focus is on that unresolved problem,  broken relationship, sickness we are going through, or on the loss that we are experiencing. But if we trust the Lord, we can trust that all of these things He allowed to happen are like labor pains during childbirth.  They are extremely painful but they don’t last forever. They also come with the hope of joy that no one can take away.  That is the hope we have in Jesus – We will see Him again, and our hearts will rejoice! He is the one who died, but in a little while, He rose from the dead with victory, and He is living forever.  This is an unshakable truth! . With His resurrected power, He raises triumph out of defeat and joy out of sorrow. With the living Lord in our life, weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5).

Dear Lord, thank you for allowing me to go through the process of sorrow which will only last a little while, but giving me the promise of unspoken joy that will last for a long time! Praise you for your resurrected power! Help me trust your time, power, and love when facing trials in my life.


If you prefer a video version of this devotional, you may enjoy it below or in the Raisins & Apples YouTube Channel.

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