Birth Pains

It has been a little over five years since Theo was born; however, I still remember those jitters as Amanda sat up uncomfortably with her first contractions. I can only imagine the sensation for expecting mothers. The build-up from the previous ten months, combined with the anticipation of bringing life into the world, mingled with the uneasiness of what will happen. And all of this is accompanied by intense moments of pain. I can’t imagine anything as confusing yet simultaneously yearned for as childbirth; last night in our Life Group, the mothers in our group reflected on those days of anguish and joy.

Whitney Dunn recalled how each contraction brought the precious birth closer to realization, providing her hope and purpose to the pain. Amanda reflected that regardless of the pain, she knew it would be momentary and necessary for new life to enter the world. How incredible and marvelous is this process!? I encourage you to reflect on your own experiences or to ask a mom about their experience; I was enlightened by what I heard. And although I will never experience it, I can glimpse the wonder of childbirth and hear the joy, patience, and strength required to bring a baby into this life.

Reflecting on Jesus’ words from Matthew 24, Jesus wanted to let us know that we should prepare ourselves for hard times and possible persecution; after giving us a sampling of future events, he states, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:8). I cannot think of a better analogy! Because just like birth, there will be momentary pain, which will accompany great joy and life. I think about women who have endured the pain of childbirth and the mentality of the process; they realize that this is a necessity and requirement, yet it will produce something more significant than what was before.

For the Christian, isn’t this the reality? We know whatever we are enduring pales in comparison to what is coming. We understand that each trial, each pain, or heartache is momentary, and there will come a time when every tear will be wiped away. We trust that we can suffer for a little while so that we may be comforted by the Prince of Peace.

That passage in Matthew 24:6-13 contains another truth that benefits us. It reminds us that life is not permanent.

Matthew 24:6-13 – “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 “And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 “And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. 12 “And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. 13 “But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved.”

We are often under the misconception that we must preserve our current existence. Yet, in this discourse, Jesus reminds his followers that this present life is full of wars, famines, earthquakes, hate, lawlessness, and death. Our current circumstances are not the end goal; this is not God’s ideal for His perfect creation. Thankfully, Jesus reminds us that this is only temporary and that all these atrocities will be over someday. And for those that don’t give up, they will be saved. Those that recognize that these are merely birth pains bringing on something far better are the ones that press on.

The difficulties mentioned are decidedly not pleasant. They are not something most people would willingly accept. And yet, as expectant mothers accept their fate of discomfort, knowing that it will bring an unimaginable newness, we too anticipate these tribulations knowing that it brings us one step closer to our Savior and the life that is to come. And so, while many would see these signs as worrisome and disturbing, we should consider them a process that brings us to an eternal promise that far outweighs our current existence.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 – “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer person is decaying, yet our inner [person] is being renewed day by day. 17 For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, 18 while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”


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