In John 16:20-22 we read, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” The Lord was giving his apostles a warning of what would happen over the next few days, but he also gave them a promise of hope with it. As a woman in travail, her anguish is great, but it will not last forever. For when the child is born, the joy “blots out” the memory of her pain. There is a vital lesson to be gained for us.
Life, many times has its “travails” that befalls us as human beings and as Christians, which can sometimes be overwhelming. We need to keep 2 things in mind as these befall us. First, the “travail” does not last forever, as we see from our text, and from 2 Cor.4:16-18. Its certainly helpful to keep this in mind when the pain seems like it will never end, or when we think the task is too long. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Secondly, looking for the eternal joy will help lighten the load of pain and anguish that so many times we must bear. Paul taught us this in Rom.8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” When you put things in the eternal perspective, it helps tremendously to balance things out in our minds. Our suffering will seem light when it is put in the scales of eternity and what happens to us now.
~ Dan McKibben