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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Having some "birth pains"?

Have you ever stopped to consider the miracle of birth?  Having birthed two children, I remember the first twitches of the "real" birth pains and all those times of "false labor" when we'd feel those false contractions.  The difference between the two is that one of them did not "advance" the birth process, but rather just made us aware it was nearing.  Those "false contractions" may not have seemed like much, but they indeed did more to alert us to the pending delivery than we might have imagined.  With God, he does not just allow us to enter "into" times of pain without also "birthing" something from those times.  Those painful "contractions" are designed to bring forth something new!

In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord.  (Isaiah 66:9 NCV)

In the weeks preceding the birth of my children, I experienced many of those "false contractions".  In fact, when going to the hospital to report to the doctor that I was "in labor" with my first child, they sent me home saying I was just experiencing "false labor".  Being the obedient first-time mom, I did as they said, only to turn around a few hours later in the middle of the night with "real labor"!  The "earlier" contractions may not have been "hard enough" to push my daughter through the birth canal, but they were definitely pointing to the ones which would!  

Have you ever stopped to consider the "contractions" of growth?  There are times when we experience some "twinges" of growth - like those false contractions - which really cause us to sit up and take notice.  They alert us to something which is just around the corner, but they don't really produce the result of the "full-birth" of the "thing" of growth being produced within.  Instead, there will be further development taking place in the "secret places" of our lives.  In due time, the "real labor" begins to happen and we begin to experience both the extreme pain of birthing the growth and the awesome splendor of seeing that growth being born out of our lives.  

God's promise to us:  I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born!  Hear that loud and clear - someone needs this right now!  Nothing should frighten us about the pain we are enduring for the moment, because in the end, something of awe-inspiring growth will emerge!  The birthing of spiritual, emotional, relational, and/or intellectual growth is almost always preceded by some form of "pain".  Either we embrace the pain as part of the process or we will constantly be frustrated by it!  When we finally are willing to embrace the pain as the "predecessor" to our growth, we might just begin to prepare for the birth a little more!

When a woman goes into those early signs of labor (the false contractions), she does something to get ready.  The nursery begins to be put in order, diapers are bought, pacifiers are sterilized, bottles are washed and prepared for midnight feeding readiness.  The bag is packed, complete with little munchies for the father to make it through the experience!  The house is cleaned, the fridge is stocked, and the pantry has never been more organized!  She readies the nest, doesn't she?  I think this may be why God allows us to begin to experience the "false labor" of our growth experiences - to help us to ready ourselves to receive the true delivery of the "real deal"!  In the readying process, something happens.  We begin to focus all our attention on the delivery!  Maybe this is the goal of the process - to get us focused.

I don't know what "pains" you are experiencing right now.  They may be the "false labor" type of pains - growth is on its way, but it still has a little preparation time required.  Growth may be finally about to be birth, and the pains are intensifying.  Take heart - in the pain, God promises something new!  The newness of what God brings forth is ALWAYS good!  Just sayin!