Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hope Beyond the Pain - Deeper Waters Blog

23 October 2014

Wrote this piece for Deeper Waters Ministry.  I hope it blesses you.

Earlier this week my daughters and I were watching a sitcom and the tv mom was having a dream about having another baby. She was doing the stereotypical heavy breathing and moaning associated with dramatic (and comedic) television births.  My daughters, I’m sure had seen this portrayal several times before. But, I guess the harvest was ripe for discussion because they began to question me about the validity of pain and childbirth. 

They were horrified when I confirmed that yes, women do indeed typically have a great deal of pain associated with childbirth.  And I may have mentioned Eve and “the curse”…
I also mentioned that thanks to medical interventions, women could “opt out” of the natural pain of childbirth with an epidural.  And they were totally onboard for that idea, until they pressed further about the details of epidural; “HOW long is the needle?  It goes in my SPINE???”  Then they weren’t so sure.

 I assured them that they had PLENTY of time to worry about natural versus pain managed birth plans in the next (at least) FIFTEEN years it would take them to finish their education, marry, and have children.  And more importantly, I assured them that the pain of childbirth is not even comparable with the joy that comes with the birth of a child. 

And this segued into another lesson about how God gives us glimpses of His glory and reassures us with hope during the pain in our lives… “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)
I also mentioned that a lot of women (myself included) report that, while, “Yes, childbirth was painful…Perhaps the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced…” I don’t really remember the specifics of that pain.  “Why else would people have subsequent children”, I joked?
So, it’s not that you completely FORGET the pain, but, perhaps the newfound joy overshadows the pain.  The pain, in fact, is “worth it” when it’s all said and done.  Which I think is a beautiful metaphor for the trials of life. 
Even our Omnipotent God, thankfully chooses to forget some things…“…For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” Jeremiah 31:34 –
Hallelujah, right?!

Instead, He makes sure to remind us that He remembers his promises to us, “He remembers his covenant forever, the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations.” (Psalm 105:8)

And, He commands that WE remember:
Matthew 15: 32-39 records the miracle of Jesus feeding the four thousand…and then in the next chapter, Jesus is exasperated with the disciples because AGAIN, they are asking him, “what are we gonna do about all these hungry people?!” Jesus is like,  “Um, hello? Remember the miracle I JUST performed? (my paraphrase of Matt 16:9).
Jesus calls us to remember who He is.  He calls us to remember His promises to us and our children.  He calls us, particularly in our trials and pain to REMEMBER how He has brought us through past trials and encourages us that He will bring us through again and again, until finally, He brings us HOME.

Importantly, He instructs us to teach our children to remember what He has done in our lives so that they can learn to trust Him in theirs.

He commanded the Isrealites to collect stones from the Jordon as a remembrance of their deliverance from 40 years wandering in the wilderness and the provision of the Promised Land. He did so, not just as a tribute to Himself for what He’d done for them, but specifically as a testimony to the next generations, so they would know too.  - Joshua 4:6&7 – “And when your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you? Then you shall tell them…So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”
How are you REMEMBERING Jesus?  What kind of STONES are you sharing as a testimony of what He has done in your life that others may know and trust Him in theirs?

I love that there is hope beyond the pain and His name is Jesus.  I love that the same Jesus who promised to “never leave me, nor forsake me”, makes that same promise to my daughters. And, it is my constant prayer that they will REMEMBER and rely on those promises too.

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