In the Hour at Hand

"When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. 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 16:21-22
In the Hour at Hand
For [a woman in labor] the hour of endurance is now at hand. . .. Everything is concentrated on the moment when the child is born into the world. In that moment the anguish is immediately forgotten because of the happy sight of the newborn child. A change like this is also experienced here in this Christian life. Sadness will not last forever; it will turn into joy. Otherwise our condition would be hopeless and helpless. But Christ has helped by saying that we will not be subjected to the eternal spectacle of the devil with his horns and claws, but that our hearts will again see Christ and rejoice in Him. Thus here on earth Christians experience an ever-recurring alternation of "a little while and again a little while." Now it is dark night; soon it is day again. Therefore the lamenting does not have to last forever, even though it seems and feels that way when we are in it. But even though we cannot see or determine the end, Christ has already done so. He points out to us in advance that we must bear this suffering, no matter how bad and unpleasant the devil makes it. Even though we do not see the end, we must wait for Him who says: "I will put an end to and will again comfort you and give you joy."

From Sermons on the Gospel of John, Chapters 14-16 (Luther's Works 24:382)
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