Recollections of the birth of my first child are filled with a lot of “don’t ever want to go that route again” memories. A mantra in my life has always been the question, “How bad could it possibly get?” Please realize this is not a factual evaluation question, but it is a rose-colored glasses response. If you are currently pregnant, be advised to stop reading this blog right now and find something else to do. For the rest of you…my first birth was a nightmare.
I went into it having taken the Lamaze classes (the breathe a lot like a train and it will help the contractions lie), swore that I would not take anything to dull the pain (wanted be able to immediately feed baby post-birth), and thought that my friend who spent 2 hours in contractions before popping out her baby was the norm for all births. WRONG!!!! I spent about 28 hours in hard labor, tore so bad that I ended up having to be stitched up without anything to numb the pain, and couldn’t actually see my son being born – my eyes couldn’t focus because they were so bloodshot from all the strain.
The point of me sharing this lovely tale with you is that I stayed the course (not that I had much choice). It wasn’t pretty, quiet and lovely – it was traumatic. However, I knew what the prize was going to be, our first child.
WE GET KNOCKED DOWN BUT NOT DESTROYED
Staying the course, not resigning. That’s the theme of this passage written by the Apostle Paul: We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. (II Cor. 4:7-9).
IT’S JUST TOO HARD….
What if the Apostle Paul had given up? Resigned himself to believing:
- The opposition is just too hard and nobody is going to listen to me
- The false teachers who have said lies about me are just too strong
- I can’t do anything from a prison cell (actually he did his best writings from prison)
- God doesn’t hear me. God doesn’t want me. God is done with me.
- God can’t use me as a public speaker because my last message was such a snooze fest that a guy dozed off and fell out of the 3rd story window. (Look it up – Acts 20:9)
There are 27 books in the New Testament. If Paul had resigned, then we wouldn’t have the 13 (or 14) books of the New Testament that he authored. He was totally honest about his trials: For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. (II Cor. 1:8 – ESV).
After that first birth I eventually went on to three more pregnancies. Sadly, two of those were miscarriages and only one of those resulted in a live birth. God, in many ways, eventually used all that pain for good in my life and the lives of others. I wonder what miracle God can do in your own life? Don’t resign.