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Christianity doesn’t offer a way out but a way through.

Too often, we wish Christianity would get us out of pain and suffering.  In these seasons of grief, we’re tempted to believe the darkness will never be light again.  But even in the middle of these seasons, we can experience the Lord’s joy.  Will that make us happy?  Not necessarily.  Will it get us through?  Absolutely.

In the last few hours before His death, Jesus is encouraging His disciples.  He has taught so much but their sadness was heavy in the room.  They understood that He was going away.  They knew He was going to be betrayed.  Then Jesus continues in John 16:20-22

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.  

John 16:20-22
New International Version

Swearing to the truthfulness of what He is saying, Jesus underscores their grief (at His departure) will be profound.  Unlike the customs at most funerals, there would be rejoicing at Jesus’ funeral.  But it would be the rejoicing of those who wanted Him dead.

By contrast, the disciples will be wailing and lamenting while the world dances with exuberant excitement.

I remind you that throughout John’s Gospel, “the world” typically refers to those who reject Jesus and, more generally, to evil.  Certainly, at the crucifixion, “the world”—that is, those who rejected Jesus—were excited they had finally put this “menace from Galilee” to an end.

But like a woman in labor, the result makes the difficulty worthwhile when their weeping and mourning are turned to everlasting joy.   Jesus assures them they will enter a season of intense grieving, but when they see Jesus again, they will be filled with joy that will never go away.

The pride “the world” experienced at the death of the Messiah would be obliterated when Jesus walked out of that tomb on Sunday morning!  The single greatest evidence of the validity of Christianity is the empty tomb.

Why do you think unbelievers are still trying so hard to find Jesus’ body?  If He’s dead, we have nothing.  But if He’s alive, then “the world” must come to grips with the reality that He was Whom He said He was, and He did what He claimed He would do—and “the world” will have some explaining to do.

Evil was CRUSHED under the power of the Savior’s feet when He stepped out of that tomb, and we can SHOUT in victory because the joy we received based on that event and His resurrection in our hearts in salvation can NOT be taken away.  We cannot lose this joy from Him any quicker than He can be shoved back into that tomb.

Because of this joy in our hearts, we have reason to shout.

How are you doing with shouting for the joy of your salvation? 

It starts with believing in His joy.  Joy isn’t just for happy times.  Peace comes from having the Lord’s presence in our lives.  We can have joy because we can tell Him our problems.  We can pray.  We can ask Him to move.  We can know He cares.

The next time the dark clouds of life gather, focus on the Lord.  Worship Him.  Lift His Name.  It might not make you happy, but I can guarantee it will calm your heart and bring you joy.

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