John 16:16-22 – “A little while, and you will not see me. Again a little while, and you will see me.” Some of his disciples therefore said to one another, “What is this that he says to us, ‘A little while, and you won’t see me, and again a little while, and you will see me;’ and, ‘Because I go to the Father?'” They said therefore, “What is this that he says, ‘A little while?’ We don’t know what he is saying.” Therefore Jesus perceived that they wanted to ask him, and he said to them, “Do you inquire among yourselves concerning this, that I said, ‘A little while, and you won’t see me, and again a little while, and you will see me?’ Most certainly I tell you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. A woman, when she gives birth, has sorrow, because her time has come. But when she has delivered the child, she doesn’t remember the anguish any more, for the joy that a human being is born into the world. Therefore you now have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.
Jesus continued to speak to His disciples in coded language here. He was letting them know that that He was about to be taken away from them, but that He would be back. His disciples were going to suffer great pain because they were about to watch Jesus get crucified and treated in a very cruel way. They were going to watch their teacher die. In that sense, they would no longer be able to see Him. In just a few days, He would be resurrecting. Then they would see Him again.
The comparison to childbirth makes it easier to understand because it helps us to properly view the pain. The pain of childbirth, I am told, is one of the worst things a woman can experience. The amazing thing about it, though, is that it is also one of the most quickly forgotten forms of suffering. The new life that is revealed makes the pain fade into the past and be forgotten.
Jesus was going to die, but He would be resurrecting. When that happened no one and nothing could remove the joy that the disciples had. When we witness resurrection, we witness the end of fear, for nothing can keep us from living, and no suffering will happen that won’t be easily forgotten in Heaven.
Jesus didn’t hold the truth about suffering back from His disciples, but He made it clear, that it should be looked at in view of the whole picture. If we focus on the suffering only, we are near-sighted. Instead, we should start enjoying the hope of our good future now!