Have you ever had to act normal in public as a horrific bit of news is privately given to you? Remember the news footage of George Bush Jr. in a classroom of children as an advisor whispered to him that a plane had hit the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001?

Show no emotion. Sit in the stunning shift of priorities and act normal. Politely dismiss yourself and face the threat.

Jesus is with his friends as he prepares them for the Calvary sequence.

John 16:
 20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

Jesus is predicting a time of differentiation. As the world mobs around calling for his destruction, these friends will no longer feel at home with their people. They will withdraw and weep.

The time of terrible pain is not intended to a dying whimper, but a labour pain—a consequential step in the birth of lasting joy. Jesus was to suffer and die, but they would see him again.

We must remember at this point that the disciples had no understanding of an immediate resurrection. They may have believed in some kind of future resurrection, but not the tangible, joy-filled and touchable revival from the tomb. Jesus is intimating that the unthinkable pain will transition into something wonderful and new—but what are the disciples to make of it?

What did it mean that no one would be able to take away their joy? Life’s disappointments may diminish our sense of well-being. Was this something ‘other’?

When we enter a time of disappointment, disconnect and uncertainty there may be no light on the horizon to bring hope. St. John of the Cross, named this the dark night of the soul.

‘As he described it, is not simply the experience of suffering. It is suffering in what feels like the silence of God… What do we do in the dark night? We do nothing. We wait. We remember that we are not God. We hold on. We ask for help. We do less. We resign from things, we rest more, we stop going to church, we ask somebody else to pray because we can’t. We let go of our need to hurry through it. You can’t run in the dark.’[1]