A 3-year-old Minnesota boy could not wait one more second. His mom had just returned from nine months of military service in Afghanistan and was standing in line with her fellow soldiers, waiting to be dismissed. While she was still standing at attention, her son broke free and rushed into her arms, a huge smile on his face. His unbridled act of joy melted the hearts of the crowd. One day we will experience this joy of reunion with our Creator. On earth, we experience happiness. But we are also designed to know joy.
Joy is not based on temporary things that bring us pleasure but on the deep assuredness of God’s love for us and the realization that we will be reunited with Him. In our reading today, Jesus knew His disciples would experience the devastating grief of separation. They would witness the execution of the One they faithfully followed.
They puzzled over His words, “In a little while you will see me no more” (v. 16). What could He mean? Jesus explained that they would indeed weep and mourn. But, they would also see their grief turn into joy. Both grief and joy would be present.
As Christians, we can experience joy, even during difficult circumstances, because we know what the future holds. Jesus compares this to a woman in labor. She endures incredible pain, but she knows the labor will result in great joy—the birth of her child. The pain is only temporary (v. 21).
We will also have joy that no one can take from us (v. 22). This joy comes from the assurance that Jesus did not stay in the grave but is raised from the dead. We, too, will see Him again, and when we do, our “joy will be complete” (v. 24).