Turning Sorrow into Joy

Turning Sorrow into Joy

Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of the season of Lent. Each weekday morning, we’re going to spend a few minutes in a passage in John. Here’s the goal: read it, pray it, share it. Every post will have a passage of Scripture, a short prayer, and a question to meditate on and talk about. In a few minutes every day, we can prepare our hearts for all that God has planned in this season of Lent. 

Read: John 16:16-28
“A little while, and you will see me no longer; 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. [23] In that day you will ask nothing of me. Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. [24] Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

[25] “I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures of speech but will tell you plainly about the Father. [26] In that day you will ask in my name, and I do not say to you that I will ask the Father on your behalf; [27] for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. [28] I came from the Father and have come into the world, and now I am leaving the world and going to the Father.” (ESV)

The world is full of sorrow. Once, when Max Lucado was asked about the secret to his teaching, he replied, “Teach to broken hearts and you’ll never have an empty room.” He’s right about that. One thing social media has done is expand our knowledge of the amount of sorrow in the world every day. If only there were a way to transform sorrow into joy!

Jesus describes a way to do this. What is your sorrow leading to? If we mourn without hope, sorrow and joy are opposites. But we don’t mourn that way. Jesus reminds the disciples that this is a hopeful kind of mourning, like the pain that comes with childbirth, which will produce great joy. All of our sorrow here on earth is leading to something. Nothing is wasted, nothing is forgotten. God sees our struggles and he’s using them to prepare for us “an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Cor. 4:17). Therefore, Paul writes, “We do not lose heart.”

We rejoice even in our suffering and sorrow because we know they are leading us to Christ. He tells his disciples that their sorrow will be turned to joy when they see him again. It’s reminiscent of the Psalmist’s words: “Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:5-6). 

O God, take every part of my sorrow and turn it into joy. Remind me that this is not a sorrow that leads to death, but a momentary affliction that will soon give way to endless rejoicing. Be with me in sadness, suffering, and disappointment. Make your presence my joy, today and every day. Amen.

Jesus knew that his suffering would end in joy because he would rise from the dead. What comfort can we gain from his perspective? Do you think much of the resurrection?

Can you think of a time when God turned your mourning into joy?
We have been comforted to comfort others. Can you think of a time that your own sorrow helped turn someone else’s sorrow into joy?

Posted in ,
Posted in , ,

No Comments