All of us want to be comfortable. We don't like sadness. We want joy. We don't like conflict. We want peace. We don't like trouble. We want security. Wanting comfort, joy, peace, and security is a good desire because it reflects our longing for heaven. But we're not there yet. We're still in this world. And in this world we will have trouble ... in this world we will have grief. In fact, Jesus says in John 16:22, "Now is your time of grief ..." I have to admit, I don't like hearing that, do you? I don't want this life to be a life of grief. Didn't you say, Jesus, that you came to give me an abundant life?! But here you're telling me that as the world rejoices I'm going to grieve and mourn. So I shouldn't expect for my life to be comfortable. I shouldn't expect to have joy and peace and security all the time. Because now is my time of grief.
But Jesus didn't stop on that one phrase. And neither should we. That would be depressing, wouldn't it? He continues, "Now is your time of grief, BUT I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy ... You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy."
Heaven is coming soon. So if you're grieving today, use this grief for good. Instead of looking at your circumstances, look ahead to the day when Jesus returns. Look ahead to the day your grief will turn to gladness. And don't spend so much time pursuing comfort and peace, here. Instead, pursue Jesus. After all, he ends this section saying, "I have told you these things, so that IN ME you may have peace." In Jesus we can have peace now. In Jesus we can have comfort now. In Jesus we can have joy now. It's in Jesus! It's in Jesus! Not in this world!
So, in a strange way, grief can be good for us because it reminds us that our true joy is not here. It's in heaven. It's in Jesus. And no one will be able to take away that joy.
- Read Unfettered Hope: A Call to Faithful Living in an Affluent Society by Marva Dawn
- Read A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World by Paul Miller
- Read Suffering and the Sovereignty of God edited by John Piper & Justin Taylor