2 Samuel 13:1-22; John 16:17-33; Psalms 119:73-80; Proverbs 26:1-2
NT: ““Truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice. You will become sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn to joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world. So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy from you… I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”” (John 16:20-22, 33 CSB)
Jesus told His disciples that when He left to go to the Father, they would be sorrowful while the world rejoiced over His demise… but there would come a day, if they endured through the sorrow, that their sorrow would be turned to joy when they saw Him in glory. Most people try to get rid of their sorrow by removing the source of their sorrow. God, on the other hand, uses the sorrow as a means to produce joy. When a woman is in labor, the baby is the cause of the pain. The woman could get rid of the baby and her pain would be gone… but she would have no joy – just and absence of pain. However, if the woman endures the pain, the source of her pain is transformed into the source of immense joy. That is what God does: He uses the inevitable painful and sorrowful things of life to mature us and produce joy, if we trust Him in the process. Pain and sorrow is a part of life in this sinful and fallen world we live in… if we just remove sorrowful things or try to escape pain, the relief may be gone for a moment, but more sorrow and pain will return to replace what we have removed or numbed ourselves to. People who “cope” in that way, never learn how to endure and conquer… they just keep removing and canceling and growing more and more empty. If we, by God’s grace through faith in Him, embrace the sorrow and pain and allow it to have its work in us. God will transform the sorrow into joy… and we will grow in maturity and fullness. Jesus then summarized His entire conversation after the last supper with this statement: “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.” You will have suffering in the world… it is inevitable… but have faith in Me, for I have conquered the world… and in Me, you will conquer the world as well.
Psalms: “Your hands made me and formed me; give me understanding so that I can learn your commands. Those who fear you will see me and rejoice, for I put my hope in your word. I know, Lord, that your judgments are just and that you have afflicted me fairly. May your faithful love comfort me as you promised your servant. May your compassion come to me so that I may live, for your instruction is my delight. Let the arrogant be put to shame for slandering me with lies; I will meditate on your precepts. Let those who fear you, those who know your decrees, turn to me. May my heart be blameless regarding your statutes so that I will not be put to shame.” (Psalms 119:73-80 CSB)
The psalmist wrote of affliction that he suffered… but he also wrote of God’s faithful love that comforted him… God’s compassion that gave him life… God’s word that gave him hope. If we are faithful to the Lord, His word, His will, and His ways; though we will go through affliction, we will not be put to shame… and through the affliction, we will have hope, comfort, and abundant life… and those around us who also fear the Lord, will see us and rejoice for the good that God produces in our life.