We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
~ Romans 8:22-23
I have given birth five times and even though each birth was a little different, one thing was the same; the painful, but necessary, waves of contractions. The birthing process takes time and is difficult for both the baby and the mother. When the timing is right, the end result of all this labor is a beautiful, new, little life to hold and love.
When I watched my mother die, I realized how much dying can be like giving birth. She laid there and labored with each breath, taking her time to go through that passage of life to a place of quiet rest. It was painful for her, and it was painful for us to watch. When the timing was just right, mom went through that passage to be held and loved by her creator, and we took a sigh of relief knowing she was no longer struggling.
Another process that is like labor pains, is when we die spiritually to ourselves, to become new in Christ. It can be painful to get to that place where we admit our sinfulness. Sometimes the waves of doubt and guilt cause us to vacillate between that decision to face the reality of our sin, or to think we are just fine the way we are. We may even compare ourselves to others thinking, “I am not nearly as bad as the other guy.” Deep in our hearts though, we know we are imperfect. Facing that head on is difficult. The birthing process comes when we realize that we need the forgiveness of Jesus, to make that passage from our selfishness to His selflessness. Then we are reborn in His forgiveness; a wonderful new creation.
Lastly, labor pains are what we feel, while waiting for Christ’s return. The Bible says we groan knowing that this momentary affliction of suffering will eventually lead to a passage to God’s glorious kingdom here on Earth. Our journey here is difficult. We fluctuate between waves of joy and pain, success and failure, acceptance and rejection, love and loneliness. When Christ returns, the labor pains will subside as He gives us a new body; unflawed, and fresh. Our tears will be wiped away as we will be cradled, safe and sound in our Heavenly Father’s arms. On that day, labor pains finally give way to birth.
Dear Lord, We groan, waiting for your return. Help us to do your work until that day. Amen
~ Jenny Calvert