"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." ~ Hebrews 12:1-2
These verses have had me thinking . . .
All that being said, I began to think about the struggles and pain that come with pregnancy . . . Yikes! I dunno if I'm ready for all this! Plus, first trimester symptoms are just the beginning! What will it be like when the baby is the size of a watermelon and he/she is ready to come out! Ah! The thought is scary, and it doesn't help whatsoever to hear other women's labor stories! I tried to pump myself up by saying, "hey, other women do this everyday . . . if they can do it, so can I! This was slightly motivating, but it still didn't quench my nerves completely! So I began to reflect on all the pain a little more intently.
All this pain really goes back to that first sin. Remember, in the beautiful garden of Eden? Adam and Eve were in paradise; everything was perfect! With one bite from the forbidden fruit, everything changed. Now Eve, and every women that came after her, would labor in childbirth. It's interesting that God chose this penalty for the woman's sin . . .
When I reflect on what this means, I think of much more than just pain in childbirth. I think of the monthly ills that come to those who aren't pregnant. I think of miscarriage, infertility, and the agony of trying to conceive month after month. I think of precious children who die too young in the arms of their parents. I think of all the complications that can occur, and indeed it's a miracle that any baby is born without defect! I think of the struggles that come with parenthood, and all the anxieties that arise with raising a child in this crazy world. Why would anyone want to have a baby!? All of this seems like too much for one couple to bear! Not to mention the courageous women who must embark on this journey alone!
But I know why . . . Despite the curse, God brings about great blessings! A Wonderful, Amazing, Blessing! "With God all things are possible!" (Matthew 19:26) "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28). So is it surprising that the God of grace, compassion, and mercy takes the penalty of pain in childbirth, and turns it into a blessing?!
". . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."~ Hebrews 12:2
It was for the joy set before him . . . The joy he knew could only come through his own pain and suffering. The joy of bringing about new life in us . . . dead, lifeless sons and daughters of Adam and Eve. Did you catch that? He didn't come from his throne in heaven, and die a brutal death to simply be raised again to sit at God's right hand. No, he came for us! He loved us, and saw us as children of God/co-heirs with him! This is why he chose to bear such pain! He was bringing us the miracle of life!
It is for the joy set before us that we can endure the many trials and hardships that come with motherhood. What an opportunity! We get to join with God in bringing forth the miracle of new life! As we look forward to the miracle our endurance is renewed, and we bear the pain knowing it will all be worth it!
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs--heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." ~ Romans 8:17
It is in this suffering that we are able to catch a glimpse of Christ's love for us, and the heart behind his suffering. We gain a greater understanding his death and resurrection, our relationship deepens, and we further bring glory to the Father!
What verses have been most encouraging to you for pregnancy and motherhood? Let's compile a list below, and encourage one another in the great and honorable task set before us!