Read: John 16:20-24
One night I was out walking through downtown Chicago when I saw a man curled up by a street post. I went over and began to talk with this man named Davis. After talking for a couple minutes or so, Davis looked me in the face with tears in his eyes and said, “Sir, I’m in real bad shape. I have stage four cancer and the doctors gave me two days to live.” Those words hit me hard. What do you say to a man who has a couple of days left to live? What encouragement is there to give? Because of his situation, I felt a strong urge to share the gospel with Davis, so I did. He told me he was a Christian. I was relieved to know he would be eternally secure with the Lord in heaven. He told me God was going to take him soon. I prayed for Davis, sat with him while he cried, gave him a hug, and eventually went on my way.
In verse 22 of our passage today, Jesus says “you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” The disciples Jesus was talking to in this verse were experiencing sorrow as a result of the trials they were enduring for the sake of Christ on this earth. However, Jesus reminded them that when their work was done and their short lives were through, they would be reunited with Him again in heaven and He would give them eternal joy. If we have trusted in Christ as our savior, we will also see Jesus in paradise one day! What a joyful thought it is to think about Jesus taking away all our sorrow when we see Him!
When we step back and look at the big picture of our lives, we quickly realize how short they are. We live for a short number of years and then we die, like everyone who’s ever come before us. Furthermore, we know from experience that life is full of pain and struggles. Although some people may have more sorrow and hardship than others, we all go through some level during our lifetime. Reflecting on the sad realities of life can leave us uneasy and even depressed. They prompt us to ask, “what hope is there for us?” Thankfully, we know that for those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there are always better days ahead. Hope is found in Him.
As Christians, we have the greatest hope we could ever want or imagine. We know that when this passing life is over, Jesus will take us home to be with Him forever in paradise. More than that, we know scripture tells us that in heaven there will be no more pain and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. We will be brought into God’s presence and will get to enjoy Him forever. While it was so sad for me to know that my friend Davis would soon pass away, the thought of him being in heaven with the Lord gives me incredible joy!
Do you ever get overwhelmed with the suffering you are currently experiencing? Do your present-day struggles cause you to forget about the future joy you will experience in heaven? We all need to be reminded to persevere through this life in light of what is to come. Ask God to give you joy as He helps you look forward to your future heavenly home.