Friday, July 14, 2017

The suffering now will not compare to the JOY coming.

Romans 8: 18-23

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

Due to poor reproductive health, and my late husband’s cancer, I never had children.  I have spoken to many women though who have and one of the things I have consistently asked in fascination was: how did you manage the pain of childbirth.  Some of them used epidurals to numb the pain, but some met the pain without drugs at all.  Almost all of them, when recalling pregnancy and childbirth, seemed to gloss over much of what I (only seeing this from the outside) might consider intolerable pain and or suffering.  Not long after delivery, the pain of childbirth, although sometimes a joke to tease their children, was glossed over with the love of the born child.  I find this completely fascinating.  A woman who gives birth naturally, is subjected to pain, tearing, bleeding, cramping, and so on…but hours after it’s over the love of the child overshadows that memory. 

I’m thinking of this because like St. Paul, I’m looking at it from the outside with no intimate understanding of this myself.  I’m seeing the birthing process and the afterglow as he would have.  So, as I read passage twenty-two, and other passages that compare the coming of our Lord, or the times coming as the pains of childbirth this is the perspective I have. 

The other moment in a human life which looks much like childbirth that I have seen, but not yet experienced, that reminds me of this passage is the watching someone die naturally.  I’ve seen this several times, and been what I call a midwife to the process each of those times.  Oddly, I have more of an understanding of that than of childbirth, but both processes look a lot alike.  They both have “contractions” so to speak, moments of rest, and as the process moves closer to the result those contractions come quicker and sometimes with more intensity.  While childbirth is celebrated, the passing is mourned, but St. Paul gives us a little perspective in this passage.

We were given over to the futility of entropy (the movement toward death).  Not just us, but the whole of creation.  Since then, we have groaned inwardly, suffering in various ways because of this bondage we have.  Yet, I see in this passage and the events that I see as parallel what it says, the same hope.  The struggles of our life from cradle to grave, the suffering we endure, they are all but smoke.  Here and gone, and in the next moment (in presence of the Lord), what will remain isn’t the memory of the suffering but, like a mother with a child, the bliss of love. And through the promises of God, through Jesus, upon passing from this life will we remember the suffering? I don’t think so, through grace, I believe-like a mother with new babe in arms-we will stand before Him bathed in his love and grace.   

As we consider this passage let’s let the impact of his words really penetrate the suffering you might feel today.  the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

All you need to have hope…is to believe it is possible.

Come, Lord, and liberate your servants from the bondage of futility, in Jesus name.

Some food for thought and prayer.

Here I am, Lord, send me,

Lisa Brandel