I Tell You the Truth

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

Jesus didn’t fault them for not understanding what He meant because He spoke in a figurative language—coded for them to understand later.  Yet He did explain how what was about to happen would impact them and gave them a promise.

The follower of Jesus will be out of step with the rest of the world in general because the world either wants God dead or worships a different god.  How can we be in step when they want something that goes against the very essence of our belief?  But that is only the first step out of sync with the rest of the world for we move onto want purity in our dealings with other humans, to conforming to the mind of Christ and becoming set apart for God.  It isn’t just a belief system we’ve worked out but a complete mindset along with a lifestyle change.

This is something I’ve been chewing on for a long time now.  The sense that we are not allowed as believers to feel the pain, that somehow we’re supposed to be stoic and laconic about trials seems completely ludicrous, though the church has taught such nonsense for a long time.  Pain hurts.  I know that’s not a revelation but I’ve noticed we feel guilty about hurting or feeling anything when the negative crops up in our lives.  Read the Psalms and we see that godly, stalwart men ached for their nation, struggled with discouragement, anger, bitterness and depression which led them to cling to God in hope through faith.

While Jesus is away, we will experience doubt, frustration, rejection, loss, suffering and death.  He promises such a life for those who follow His example.  Anyone who doesn’t experience this can count themselves fortunate to have dodged the bullet.  However, throughout history, those who followed Jesus were not the secure rich as a general rule but usually the poor who had no hope except God.  If any one of us has roof over our heads at all, we can count ourselves blessed beyond measure because the Son of man had nowhere to lay His head and promised those who followed Him the same (see Matthew 8:19-22).

The world wants Jesus either in the grave or robbed of His power to judge, command or affect their lives in any significant way—except may be winning the lottery.  Everyone wants God to bless them with good, but few want to obey Him though the storm rages around them and the waves crash into them..

The world will rejoice and celebrate the cross while we mourn its meaning and rejoice because of His resurrection.  Yes, we find our glory in the cross but not as a piece of jewelry, rather it speaks to us of love so great humiliation and death could not silence it.  The cross is our glory only because it stands for righteousness untainted, unwilling to give into evil and conquered by the resurrection and the Life.

Why won’t we remember the former things nor will they come to mind?

Like woman who holds her child in her arms for the first time after hours of hard labor, the pain of the past is forgotten in the joy of the babe in her arms.  May be “forgotten” is the wrong word, though Jesus used it; probably ignored is a better term for what she feels.  The pain becomes insignificant and wholly irrelevant by comparison.  The hope promised, once realized in fact not just in faith, will erase the past by sheer weight of joy, glory and brilliance.

Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  Hebrews 12:3.

What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.  Philippians 3:8, 9.

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2 Responses to “I Tell You the Truth”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    Absolutely correct. I am frustrated by the idea that once we are believers all pain stops. Everyone under the sun will have highs and lows, we’ll have grief and joy, we’ll suffer and we’ll rejoice. The difference between us and the world is not that we live without suffering, it’s that we endure knowing this is a flash, a vapor, and we will live out eternity with Christ and that brings us hope and strength.

    I love the analogy of labor and delivery of a baby. As a woman, I don’t forget the pain of childbirth, I just know that it was purposed for the good, precious most beautiful thing in my life, making it worth it after the fact which then makes one willing to do it again. The beauty outweighs the pain.

  2. jonnysoundsketch2 Says:

    I don’t think Jesus really meant that women completely forget about the pain, rather they forget in the way we say “she forgot about the pain when she saw her baby’s face for the first time!” To me He’s saying one thing takes precedence over another.

    I’m on a crusade in America to remind anyone who’ll listen that Jesus never promised peace and prosperity on earth. Instead we have the promises for the future in Eternity. If we keep this in mind, we won’t grow discouraged when bad things happen because we’ll know these things are part of the human landscape where God is subtracted from the equation.

    It’s gonna’ get worse and scarier before it gets better from what the Bible says.

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