Joy at His Appearing
It’s been 47 years, at the time of this writing, since I experienced the joy of birthing a child.
Did I say joy? Silly me, joy came after delivery. It was more like intense pain and suffering on account of a malfunction in the IV with my pain meds. Not that it’s ever a cakewalk experiencing the varying shifts the body and emotions make during childbirth, even with meds, but with medical wonders such as they are, my experience certainly could’ve been improved.
I remember that sinking feeling the moment it hit me full on that I was not the one in control of my body. This child inside of me, the one I so desperately wanted, was elbowing and shouldering her way down the birth canal and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. Contractions had ramped up. Bones were shifting. My uterus and surrounding ligaments were being stretched to make room for her. There was no postponing the inevitable, no turning back what must take place. In a few hours—hopefully a few—my baby would make her rip-snorting entrance into this world.
The girl in the upstairs apartment assured me that childbirth was a breeze. The Lamaze teacher gave me the impression that with simple breathing techniques and an understanding beforehand of the changes my body would undergo, I could master the pain. My body let me know in no uncertain terms that both of my in-the-know advisors were out of their ever-lovin’ minds. It fully intended to make this a memorable experience by doing its thing—and its thing really, really hurt. Regardless of my weak attempts at concentrated breathing and my last-ditch plea to the nurse to swap places with me, I was utterly at the mercy of this birthing process playing itself out completely.
Funny how things resurrect later in life. Lately, I’ve been sensing that sinking feeling again—the realization that there is no reversing this spiritual birthing process underway in the world. There is a Kingdom coming down the pike. For I know that my Redeemer lives and at the last He will take His stand upon the earth [i] Jesus’ kingdom rule, conceived in the womb of God’s grand design long before its conception in a virgin’s womb, has been elbowing and shouldering its way through the birth canal of many generations. [ii] There’s no turning back the tide now. False Christs and doctrines have been popping up like Braxton hicks to let us know time is short. True contractions of war and rumors of war bring significant Kingdom advancement. Earthquakes, pestilences, and famines intensify in strength and number, weakening the foundational soundness of this present evil age. The increase in Light strains and overstretches darkness’s strength till the day its hold finally tears loose. God calls these the beginning of sorrows. [iii] Before we know it, Jesus’ kingdom will rip snort its way into full manifestation. And of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end . . . the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. [iv]
There’s no postponing the inevitable. There’s no aborting it. This Kingdom birth is happening and it’s gonna hurt. The whole of creation has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now . . . We ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait . . . [v] Physical and emotional discomfort at present will turn to the intense pain of transition the closer we come to delivery; the sheer force of it will rock humanity. “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pain: It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world”—and His method of waking His sleeping church. Jesus is coming! He “came once to be humbled, despised, and put to death”. Upon His return, He will “be honored in his own world”. [vi]
People can prep for it. They can educate. They can cringe, brace, strategize, medicate, ignore. Resist. Attempts to oppose this Kingdom are as ludicrous as my plea for the nurse to swap places with me. Terror, pain, and anguish will seize them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. . . destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. For those who persistently dig in their heels, overwhelming suffering at their eternal separation from fullness of Life Himself is what they get out of the deal. God’s judgment is all they have to look forward to. [vii]
What a god-awful waste of pain.
Those with the Seed of Life already “in” them won’t be exempt from pain as they patiently await full manifestation of His kingdom. Enduring the varying physical and spiritual shifts in what God considers light, momentary afflictions associated with this birth will be no cake walk. Present-day lifestyles will drastically change. Bodies and souls will undoubtedly groan under the pain and pressure of those changes. A woman when she gives birth to a child, has grief (anguish, agony) because her time has come . . . [viii] But unlike my faulty IV with meds years ago, a steady flow of the Holy Spirit will keep us. Breathing in God’s grace and joy, and exhaling crippling fear and sin, will sustain us until we obtain “full possession of salvation”. [ix]
Full possession of salvation. My oh my, if the sheer joy I felt the instant I finally laid eyes and hands on the remarkable human being God so wondrously knit together in the secrecy of my womb is any indication of our joy when Jesus physically appears among us, then Hooee! Pain? What pain? We get to see Him with our eyes and touch Him with our hands not just once, like doubting Thomas after Jesus rose from the grave, but forever and ever . . . but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. [x] Jesus promises that the suffering we’ll go through will turn to joy when He returns . . . and no one will take your joy from you. [xi]
[i] Job 19:25 AMP [ii] Psalm 2:4–8 [iii] Romans 13:11; Matthew 24:4–8 [iv] Isaiah 9:6–7 [v] Romans 8:22–23 [vi] Quote by C.S. Lewis - The Problem of Pain; Hebrews 9:28 - Barnes’ Notes on the Bible [vii] Isaiah 13:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Acts 10:42; Matthew 24:30; 2 Thessalonians 1:8–9 [viii] 2 Corinthians 4:17; John 16:21 [ix] Hebrews 9:28 - Barnes’ Notes on the Bible; Romans 5:2 [x] John 16:21; John 20:27; Revelation 21;3, 22; Ezekiel 37:28; Psalm 16:11 [xi] John 16:22