This is Day Thirty-One of Christ Church Manchester’s lent devotionals, where we are breaking down the book of John. Written by Andrew Dowdeswell.
John 16: 16 – 33:
“Joy comes in the morning!”
What a heart-warming, uplifting phrase. Quoted from Psalm 30 written by King David, it is a statement that is often said with great confidence and assuredness, as if we are expectant that joy does indeed come in the morning.
However, like many of the encouraging promises in the Bible, it can often seem disconnected with reality. When your marriage is breaking down; when depression is overwhelming; when crisis comes; when illness strikes; when friends and family die; when miscarriages are suffered; how easy is it then to say ‘joy comes in the morning’?
Thankfully, Jesus gives us a glimpse into the difficulties of such times in today’s passage. As we come to the climax of Easter, during which Jesus will send Himself to the cross, die and later rise, we see Jesus explain to His disciples the trials and the struggles that face them.
Thanks to hindsight, we are acutely aware of what He refers to: the days in which the Pharisees celebrate His death, the denial of Peter, the conflict that they encounter throughout the time between Jesus’ death and resurrection. However, for the disciples at that time, they were rather bemused by Jesus’ words, unaware of what He was delineating and the difficulties that lay ahead of them.
But for all the doom and gloom in Jesus’ warnings, He also promises them that their grief will turn to joy. After His resurrection, joy is perhaps the most accurate description of the disciple’s feelings. But it did come without its troubles.
Similarly, in our lives, when we toil through difficult periods, hanging on to Jesus’ promise that joy will indeed come is all the more crucial. It is thanks to His resurrection, His conquering of death, His almighty power that we can receive supernatural joy.
That does not mean that we should be happy all the time. Jesus himself states that times of trouble will come. They are, unfortunately, inevitable. But, rather than feel downheartened and discouraged, we should be assured and confident in the joy of the Lord, however tough that may seem.
Written by:Andy Dowdeswell