This passage is really quite comical to read. Seven times in verses 16-19, the words ‘little while’ appear. Jesus says that in a little while, the disciples won’t see him, and then in a little while, they will see him again. The disciples don’t know anything about these little whiles, and so Jesus asks them whether or not they are talking to one another about the little whiles. Then Jesus offers the illustration of a woman in labour. A woman in labour has pain for a little while. But, a little while after the pain, she receives joy, because of the birth of her new child. And, according to Jesus, the cross is like a woman in labour. The cross brings a little while of pain and loss, but a little while after that, something new is born, and so joy follows.