“God doesn’t give us joy instead of sorrow, or joy in spite of sorrow, but joy in the midst of sorrow. It is not substitution but transformation.”
In John 16:21-22 Jesus illustrated this truth by the birth of a baby: “A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.”
The same baby that gives the mother pain also gives the mother joy! Her pain is not replaced by joy but transformed into joy. The difficult circumstances of life are “pregnant” with joy, and by faith we must give that joy time to be born. Tough circumstances often give birth to something beautiful and lasting in our lives. Think of the Apostle Paul. Paul called Timothy his true son in the faith in 1 Timothy 1:2. Timothy was a joy in Paul’s life, but do you remember where Paul found Timothy? It was in a town called Lystra, do you recall what happened to Paul in Lystra? He was stoned to death and God brought him back to life! The life that was born out of that ordeal, that suffering and pain, was this young man Timothy, Paul’s son in the faith.
Timothy became one of Paul’s most trusted and loyal companions. When Paul needed someone who had his heart to Pastor the church in Ephesus, Timothy was the guy he chose. Timothy in Paul’s life was birthed in Lystra, which was no doubt one of the most difficult experiences that Paul had ever gone through. People hurling rocks at him, his body bloody, bruised, and wounded so bad that it killed him. Imagine that type of suffering. How many rocks would it take to kill a man? Talk about sorrow! I wonder what was going through Paul’s mind as they were hurling those rocks at him? He was probably thinking: “This is it, Lord, I am ready to see you.” I doubt very seriously that he was thinking that his “son in the faith” was going to be born out of that ordeal, but that is exactly what happened. The next time Paul came to Lystra, Timothy became his companion, who no doubt was inspired by the work of God in Paul’s life and the reality that God had revived Paul’s life there in Lystra.
Joy is often born out of pain and resurrection is always preceded by death! So the next time you find yourself in a place of great pain and sorrow; you can rest. Take heart because the pain that you are currently going through is going to give birth to Joy! The difficulty is going to give birth to a son or daughter in the faith, Timothy or a Tanya. The death that you are experiencing in some area of your life is going to result in a glorious and beautiful resurrection!Christian Growth, Encouragment, Faith, joy, Persistence, Sorrow, Trials