Birth Pangs of the Kingdom

I come from a prolific family, some of my kin giving birth to as many as eight children.  (Not all at one time.)  On holidays, when my family gathered, the ladies would sit around the table talking, and often would come the childbirth stories. 

 Each story was unique, and as a child I would sit in a corner of the dining room in awe. It would be a shame if a woman underwent that miracle of birth and did not wish to talk about it!

 Later, when it was my turn to labor, my mother reminded me that each labor pain was a progression to the miracle that was about to happen, and that that was one pain that I did not have to relive.

 I have a friend who is about to become a grandpa for the first time.  New birth is on my mind.  I looked in vain for the passage where Jesus compares entering the Kingdom of Heaven to birth pains.  I know it is there, but instead I was directed to Matthew 24:8. 

 Matthew 24:8 views the birth of the Kingdom in broader terms, not singularly, but encompassing the world.   It talks about nations making war against nation, about earthquakes, about famines, about false prophets. 

 “All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish}”  Amplified Bible.

 Bad news, or good news?   On one hand, giving birth can be almost intolerably painful.  (Ladies, you know what I am talking about here.)  But on the other hand, soon we will be delivered a brand new bundle of joy, full of promise and love.

 We are living in a dangerous world.  There are wars, earthquakes, famine and often terror.  The Kingdom of Heaven will not be delivered to us surgically.  We must bear down with each intolerable pain and know that soon we will be free of the pain and anguish.

 I am not saying here that God is sending all these calamities.  I am saying, rise above the pain and look toward the end of the labor, with a new “being”, full consciousness of the Kingdom of God, to rejoice.

 It will not be easy, but just as our children are born, and we experience with them each phase of life, our Father in Heaven is rejoicing with us.  Have faith.

 W.S.

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