Life is rhythmic and cyclical. The book of Ecclesiastes tells us there is a time for everything. Weeping and laughing. Mourning and dancing. We are from the dust, and to dust we shall return. Our existence in space and time is corruptible, insofar as we are composed, the breath of God and dust, and are then subject to decomposition. Joy is vain. It slips from our grasp the moment we gaze upon it. Grief is constant. We wade through the floodwaters of this valley of tears until we are eventually overcome by the crashing waves.
Through the storm of life, with its respites of calm and monotonously blasting gales, Jesus speaks to us. He offers words of comfort in today's Gospel passage. Comfort that does not, and cannot, come from the world of ashes and decay. The Lord says that anguish will come before a joy that is not vain. Happiness, the quietude of our wills, can be snatched away from us now. But not forever. Our hearts will rejoice when they are no longer breakable.
The Christian message has been fraught with tension from the beginning; the already-but-not-yet. Jesus is already Lord of all, but the instantiation of His Kingdom across the cosmos is not yet fully realized. Jesus is already raised from the dead and exists incorruptibly; we are not yet like Him. Creation groans in travail. Still, Jesus promises that our longing to be with Him is like the birth of a child. Agony will dissolve into bliss. Death will be swallowed up by life.