I’d like to ask you mothers out there how many of you love your children? I would think that most every mother, without exception, would probably say that they love their children.
What about this question: how many of you enjoyed pregnancy and childbirth? I’m guessing their are far fewer that would say they agree with that statement. I’ve been told that pregnancy and childbirth are miserable. It’s pain and sickness for nine long months or, as my wife often reminds me, nearly 10 months of pregnancy, to end in what? The horrible pain and agony of childbirth.
And yet, after that, what happens? A newborn baby, your child, that you’ve been carrying with you is now placed in your arms. Many women would say that enduring all of that pain and sickness and suffering and childbirth was worth it to hold their new little one in their arms. Jesus uses this as a picture for us of the joy that we have as we think about heaven. In John chapter 16 he writes this
“A woman giving birth has pain, because her time has come. But when she has delivered the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, because of her joy that a person has been born into the world.
“So you also have sorrow now. But I will see you again. Your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.” (John 16:21-22)
When Jesus ascended into heaven his disciples were, to some degree, sad. They could no longer see and interact with him the way they had before, and many of them experienced much sorrow and suffering at the hand of evil individuals who wanted to suppress the message of Christ.
We too suffer much in our own lives, sometimes for the sake of being Christians, but we know the joy that’s ours, eternal life in heaven, won for us by Christ on the cross. Even as we endure much in our own lives, let no one steal your joy from you. The joy that is yours for ever and ever in heaven. Amen.