Labor Pains

In John 16, Jesus is having a tough conversation with His disciples. He is explaining to them that soon He will no longer be with them, but that He is going away. He says things like “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you” and “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” At this point the disciples are confused and begin to mumble amongst themselves “We’re going to see you no more?” and “It is for our good that you’re going away?” You’re probably thinking the same thing as the disciples. How can it be better if Jesus goes away? How can it be better than Jesus being right there with them? You probably think Jesus has lost his mind.

The disciples thought so too. They were struggling to wrap their minds around what Jesus was saying. They were about to face much pain and sorrow. Jesus knowing this says to them “Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” What Jesus was saying is without pain there is no promise. In other words, pain is an indicator that there is a promise that is about to be birthed in your life. Before your biggest breakthrough you are going to face your biggest burden.

After all this, Jesus ends the chapter by saying “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus wanted the disciples to know “Yeah you’re going to experience pain. But guess what? I’ve overcome it. And there is a promise waiting for you on the other side.” In this world you’re going to have pain come to you but it’s a sign that God is about to birth something through you. Next time you start to experience pain in your life you have two options: You can either be crushed underneath it or you can push your way through it. When that pain comes, you should begin to rejoice because your promise is about to breakthrough on the other side.

  1. What does this passage teach us about God? How does it apply to you?
  2. Are you experiencing pain in different areas of your life?
  3. Stop your crying and start pushing because your promise awaits you on the other side.
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