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Sorrow That Brings Joy

I can guarantee this truth: You will cry because you are sad, but the world will be happy. You will feel pain, but your pain will turn to happiness. John 16:20

Imagine the good feeling inside a baseball player when he steps up to the plate, leans back, and knocks the ball clear over the fence. Some of us know the joy of hitting a home run, because we have done it. All of us can imagine it. It is great whether it is in a game for the kids in a neighborhood or in a world series of the major leagues.

But do we think any baseball player started out hitting home runs? We can also imagine the disappointment of going to bat and missing the first ball, the second, and the third. Three strikes and you’re out, at the old ball game. And that gives the opposite feeling of a home run.

Yet if any ball player wants the joy of a home run, he has to be willing to have the sorrow of the strikeout. The same is true in many other areas of life. Jesus speaks of sorrow before joy in this passage. He had been telling His disciples that He must suffer and die. They react against such an idea. They were afraid of the sorrow. But He told them that the sorrow is not the purpose of His dying. He was willing to die to give them a joy far beyond any joy they had ever know or expected. By His death He promised to give them a victory over death. The joy of His resurrection would wipe out all the sorrows of His death.

Jesus spoke these words before His death to give the disciples strength to endure the sorrow they would feel when He died. He also speaks to us in our sorrows. Do not be afraid to live life; do not be afraid to love people, though there may be sorrow involved. If you avoid the sorrow, you will also avoid the joy of sharing life with others. Do not be afraid to follow Christ even when there is a cross. Without the cross there is no crown. Without sharing in Christ’s sorrow we cannot understand His joy.

He does not say that all sorrow will automatically turn to joy. But the sorrow that is endured with Him will turn to joy. When you feel the sorrow of guilt and shame, include Christ in the sorrow. That is why He went to the cross – to share that sin and shame with you. Then you can share the joy of His resurrection – a victory over all guilt and shame. When you feel the sorrow of loneliness and fear, include Him in that sorrow. He removes the loneliness, for He is with you. He removed the fear, for your life is in His hands. When He is with you, who can be against you?

– Reverend Joel Holls

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