E-votional - Birthing Pains
January 30, 2003

Verse:

Very truly, I tell you, you will weep and mourn, but the world will rejoice; you will have pain, but your pain will turn into joy. When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world.

John 16:21-22 (NRSV)

Thought:

There is not a much more uncomfortable feeling than the pain of giving birth, and though I have never done something like this, I think the look and vocalization of the experience leads me to this conclusion. Even the accident I had as a young child afforded me the blessing of going into shock. This means I do not really remember the pain, nor did I have to go through the "labor" of the experience. Birthing pains are painful, they are memorable, but yet they offer something which surpasses the pain by introducing a joy and a gift that really knows no comparison.

Hear the Good News, as we grow in our faith, we too will experience birthing pains, but with that pain, we will know growth and life. As we stumble through the experience and birth of our own Christian experience, it will be met with moments which can bring to us a great deal of pain. Some of the greatest growth experiences of my life, and I bet, yours as well, have been during painful times of your life. And while we may try to forget or push those moments aside, forgetting the moment of hurt or discomfort, we must do our best to recognize that it is/was an opportunity for growth. We do not hate or try to forget the child that causes the pain through birth, we connect. We do not forget or over look the financial struggles of our past or present, we learn from them. And likewise, with our faith, as it is challenged and meets our life by challenging who we are and what we are about, we must know that we have the opportunity to grow. Instead of meeting conflict with defensive reactions, we must meet conflict or pain for what it is, an opportunity to grow.

Prayer: 

   Gracious Father, so often I stop and wonder why is there such pain and conflict in the world, asking why. Yet I fail to the whole picture, Your part in the whole, because I focus squarely on the small snapshot of what is around me, what I see, or what I hear. Open my eyes and heart, allow me to grow in all of my experience, pleasant or painful. Thank You for all You have done and all You will continue to do, for I ask this through Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.