First United Presbyterian Church

John 16:21-22

John 16:21-22

21 When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. 22 So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

When Hurt comes to us and knocks on our door, he doesn’t give us the opportunity to let him in gracefully. He knocks, he enters, and he tears apart our sacred place. All of our preparation and our comfort-making, he invades. He resides, until that day when it is his time to leave. 

Think of these moments:  We lose a child; we lose a parent; we become estranged from a once-tender friend; our sense of calling turns into a fearful questioning of why we are no longer content; we become accused, thrown out, and left on our own. 

As a woman knows that her hour has come,

We cry out. 

O God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

We see not past our moment of pain.

We, for a moment, see hell’s writhing terror. 

And Yet,


Christ is birthing us anew. 

Birthing us to see the sun, newly informed by what has come.

Newly prepared by Christ’s vision of the cross. 

It is not without suffering that we see Christ rightly. We must create an inner theology of suffering. 1 James 1:2-4 says, ”Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter trials of various kinds, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” The stiff and seemingly unkind challenge of James is that you should dare to be excited when Hurt knocks on your door because, in the holy and sacred words of Christ himself, “Truly, truly I say to you that you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy!”


Contributed by Jeffrey Kerst 

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