March 27, 2023

Transformed From Sorrow to Joy

“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.” John 16:22 (ESV)

Author
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Kent Warren

Executive Children’s Ministry Pastor

Jesus is so real, He is so honest and straight to the point. That’s one of many things I have always loved about Jesus. He was fully God, fully man and He understood that his friends, the disciples, would be sad to see Him go. He connected with their emotions, but He left them with hope and a promise. He would see them again, their hearts would be full of joy and no one was going to take it away.

Pastor Josh spoke in a recent message about seeing semicolons in the Bible. When you see a semicolon it means that there is more to the verse. The verse isn’t over. It helps connect the two main clauses or points in that sentence. Ever since Pastor Josh brought me back to my English class in high school, where we learned how to properly put punctuation marks in our writing, I’ve been reading the Bible in a new way. I’ve tried to pay close attention to where those punctuation marks are placed. In the verse above, found in John 16:22, you can see there are a few commas in that verse. The commas represent a pause, keeping the reader from just reading through the verse. They are there for a reason, to help tell the story, to show us that it just keeps getting better after each comma.

Now that I have made my mother proud by talking about punctuation marks we can dive into what stood out to me in John’s chapter 16. By the way, my mom has her master’s in teaching and administration and is a high school principal, so to this day, my mom is still helping me, and correcting me with my grammar. And if I’m being honest on the last devotional I wrote she gave me some very constructive criticism. So, mom, I hope I made you proud with this one!

It’s so cool how when I get to write my devotional, I always get to write about something I’ve been praying about recently or that has been something that I just spoke on in Boom Town or Threshold. I love God’s Word and I feel like every time I read it, He gives me something new or reminds me of something He had already shown me. I guess this is true with everyone when they read the Bible, but I wanted to share this verse with everyone.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (ESV)

Here we see Jesus being honest and real again. He lets the disciples know that sorrow will show up from time to time, but they should take heart, they shouldn’t worry (insert the semicolon) because Jesus has overcome the world. Jesus didn’t stay dead on the cross, He conquered death, and He is the reigning champion. Jesus holds the world record and no one will ever beat it.

“Jesus did not promise peace; He offered it. He said, “you may have peace.” People may follow Jesus yet deny themselves this peace. We gain the peace Jesus offered by finding it in Him. Jesus said, “that in Me you may have peace.” We won’t find real peace anywhere else other than in Jesus.” - David Guzik

Sorrow comes in a few different forms. It comes in betrayal, it comes in divorce, it comes in the death of a loved one, it comes in financial uncertainty. Whatever your sorrow is, we must take heart, we must take comfort in the Lord. He came to turn that sorrow into joy. My challenge for us dear brothers and sisters is will we choose joy? Will we choose to accept that we do not fight against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces in the heavenly realms? The devil wants us focused on the sorrows so he can steal away the joy that follows. Jesus loves us so much, He is coming back and when He does, He is bringing the Joy of the world with Him and I can’t wait to rejoice with everyone at that time. Until then, stay vigilant, keep spreading the joy of the Lord to others, and rejoice in those sorrowful times!

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