John 16.20-22– ‘Now you have sorrow, but your sorrow will be turned into joy for I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice, and that joy no one can take from you’
God’s gracious purposes are revealed in Jesus Christ, his well beloved Son. It is a purpose of love and is intended to bring joy into human hearts. Certainly, there is nothing that human beings so universally and ardently seek after as joy. But with countless thousands today joy is a ‘will o the wisp’ which they can never grasp. Yet the words of Jesus in our text show us that joy is attainable. How encouraging and comforting is the assurance that our Lord here brings . There is a joy for all believers in Jesus Christ. Jesus does not promise to believers exemption from the common sorrows of life. We must expect to experience distress and want, sickness, and suffering, affliction and pain, bereavement and death. But this promise of joy is ours if we are true believers in Jesus Christ. His holy Gospel brings us comforting assurance that he will not leave us or forsake us in an emergency of our earthly lives, but rather he will be ever with us to strengthen us in our weakness, to comfort us in our trials and troubles and deliver us from every evil work, and preserve us unto his heavenly Kingdom. Worldly and unbelieving persons may well despair when calamities overtake them or when death stares them in the face. They have no refuge to which they may cling for safety.
But how different it is with those who are believing Christians. Our joy is in our ever-present Lord and it is so deep that it enters the innermost recesses of our hearts, and so permanent that no one can take it away from us. The world cannot give such joy, nor can it take it away. Let us therefore never murmur or complain, but ever rejoice in the Lord, for through him alone, everlasting life is possible.