January 7, 2015

Joy’s Birth Pains

Written by Boyd Bailey

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 7, 2015

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. John 16:20

Sorrow sometimes lies pregnant in the womb of my soul, waiting to be birthed into joy. I recently wept with a friend whose physical pain brought tears to our eyes. It hurt me to see him hurt. Joy came as we both sought the comfort of Christ in prayer. I lost my dad years ago to my parent’s divorce. My joy evaporated and left behind the residue of rage. Thankfully, my anger was converted to love by loving mentors. I experienced God’s love through His children. It’s when I honestly express my sorrows that my Savior Jesus transforms my pain into His peace.

Jesus prepared His disciples for the reality of grief—followed by His guarantee of joy. Jesus was going away, but He promised His followers: “I will see you again”. What a comfort to know the eyes of the Lord are fixed on those He loves. The disciples would feel the pain of loss, but they could anticipate with joy Christ’s return. The deep sorrow experienced at the foot of the cross could only be surpassed by the height of joy standing at the empty tomb. Death brings sorrow, but life brings joy. We can smile and rejoice: our suffering servant has become our living Lord!

“They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion…They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more” (Jeremiah 31:12).

What grief of yours needs a conversion of joy? You feel grief over a death, but you know the Lord will bring joy back to your life. You feel pain over a prodigal child, but you still pray for the return of joy to your heart—even if they don’t return. You feel disappointed over unmet expectations, but you leave your desires in God’s hands. He massages out the toxins of distrust so your joy is able to rehydrate your soul. You feel regret over a ruptured relationship, but you seek the Lord’s wisdom for relational repair, as joy follows your repentance. Joy has birth pains.

Therefore, we go to God in our grief with anticipation of engaging His deep abiding joy. Just as the extended roots of a 100 year-old live oak provide stability in the middle of gale force winds, so the deepening roots of our trust in God stabilizes our soul. External circumstances can whip us around and threaten our joy, but the inner peace of Christ abides still. Our iceberg of pain begins to melt as it drifts down the warm river of the Lord’s love. Rejoicing will follow our mourning.

“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).

Prayer: Heavenly Father, in my grief I look to You for hope, healing and peace.

Related Readings: 1 Chronicles 16:33; Psalm 90:14; Isaiah 26:19; 1 Thessalonians 2:19

Post/Tweet this today: When I honestly express my sorrows—my Savior Jesus transforms my pain into His peace. #joysbirthpains #wisdomhunters

Additional Resource: Proverbs 31 ministry blog- Joy in the midst of grief: http://www.cbn.com/family/familyadvice/p31_joyingrief.aspx

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