20 June, 2024

Pain that Leads to Joy

by | 6 May, 2024 | 0 comments

By Stuart Powell 

When sin came into the world, God responded by condemning the tempter of humanity, and then he spoke words of grace to Adam and Eve. To Eve he pronounced what appeared to be a judgment against motherhood: 

[God] told the Woman: “I’ll multiply your pains in childbirth; you’ll give birth to your babies in pain. You’ll want to please your husband, but he’ll lord it over you” (Genesis 3:16*). 

This reality of pain during childbirth has been experienced by every mother in every generation since Eve’s day. However, have you ever wondered if our God, who loves us dearly, intended his message to be harsh and lacking in compassion? Did God possibly intend to convey a message of hope through the pain of giving birth?  

Perhaps that message was delivered through God’s Messiah. Consider how Jesus described his impending death to the disciples: 

“When a woman gives birth, she has a hard time, there’s no getting around it. But when the baby is born, there is joy in the birth. This new life in the world wipes out memory of the pain. The sadness you have right now is similar to that pain, but the coming joy is also similar. When I see you again, you’ll be full of joy, and it will be a joy no one can rob from you” (John 16:21-22*). 

Could Jesus have been thinking about God’s message to Eve when he shared this metaphor with his disciples? From very early on, God knew it would be painful for him and humanity to bring the new spiritual life into a sin-filled world. It costs generations of people pain and death. It cost God the life of his divine Son. Pain was not the end in either case. Instead, it was great joy, hope, and peace. All of this happened because God fulfilled his promise of new life to the world.  

All mothers know a pain very similar to what God suffered in sending Jesus into the world. Both are on a mission to bring new life to the earth. That paradox should be celebrated, reminding us that God is at work to deliver redemption in every situation.  

Jesus went to the cross in the pain of physical torture, emotional mocking, and spiritual agony for the sin of humanity. The bread reminds us of that pain. The cup speaks of his sacrifice. But that was not the end of Jesus’ story. For from that painful crucifixion was birthed the joy of eternal life for all who follow after Jesus. Celebrate that hope as we relive Jesus’ sacrifice. 

_ _ _

*All Scripture verses are from The Message

Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.   

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