16:20 "Most assuredly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy. 21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she has given birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world."
When Jesus begins a statement with "Most assuredly" or "Truly, truly" or "Verily, verily" it is a translation of the Greek word amane from which we get the word amen. Here is the full meaning: an "emphasis marker," introduces a statement of pivotal importance – i.e. that is essential in interpreting the over-all passage.
So in this statement and with the illustration that follows Jesus is making a pivotal point that we cannot afford to miss. It is not a complicated point but one that is easy to forget when the sorrow comes. Here is the point: Any and all sorrow brought on us by following Jesus is temporary and will become joy in the end. Any joy found in turning on or from Jesus will also be temporary and will turn to sorrow in the end.
Remember Eve? Remember the euphoria she experienced when she first ate the forbidden fruit? The ecstasy didn't last. It never does. The Bible calls describes it as "the pleasures of sin for a season". Any happiness created through sin is short lived and there is always a "morning after" when the joy is but a memory and remorse, regret, and consequences replace it often leaving scars that are permanent. Short term gain with long term pain.
Sometimes following Jesus will draw us into the same hatred He faced daily. Sometimes standing with Him is just plain hard. Sometimes it is so hard it feels like we just can't do it. More than one laboring mother has said words to that effect or stronger. Then suddenly the baby arrives and the pain is replaced by the overwhelming desire to hold the very one that "caused" the pain.
Short term pain for long term gain.
Two roads. One choice.
"As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."