Saturday, April 23, 2011

Childbirth and The Road of the Cross

I am confident this Lenten season and Easter were perfectly ordained to precede Eve’s arrival. I’ve been amazed the past 40 days at the spiritual parallels between preparation for childbirth and the overarching theme of this time in the life and history of our church. The significance of Lent lies in its representation of the 40 days Jesus spent being tested and tried in the wilderness prior to his crucifixion. It was a time truth was twisted and hurled like darts at Jesus’ faith, but he did not waiver. He boldly proclaimed the promises of his Father and the victory he'd been inherently given in the face of attack.

I have been learning to speak to the lies of the enemy this Lenten season in much the same way, most predominantly in the realm of childbirth. I have had ample opportunity to exercise authority over the enemy’s attempts to impart fear and ultimately suffocate the revelation of God and rob me of intimate dependence upon him in this sacred season. The battle has been raging in and around me, but I have found a steadfast hope in God and I will not be moved.

Yesterday (Good Friday), while sitting in an ornate pew at Christ Church Cathedral meditating upon the sacrifice of Jesus, remembering the pain he bore in his body to bring redemption to humanity, I was again moved by images of childbirth and their correlation to all Christ endured to bring life to his people. My mind carried me back to the garden after Eve ate of the forbidden fruit; to the moment it was declared that she would endure a multiplication of pain in childbirth and to Paul ultimately declaring it would provide salvation for her soul. Those passages could be interpreted a hundred different ways, but I received them fresh and new yesterday . . .

I saw them as the first prophetic picture released upon humanity of the coming Messiah and the road of suffering he would walk in order to deliver and redeem humanity. I suddenly viewed the agony preceding the emersion of new life from the womb as a picture of Christ’s suffering on the cross and the excruciating pain he endured prior. Though he asked God to rescue him (to take this cup) if there be any other way to bring redemption to the earth, he ultimately walked the road of suffering. He was faithful unto death . . . And it was that death that ultimately restored fallen man and reunited humanity with God.

As I move closer and closer to the day of Eve’s emersion from the womb there are moments when I (like Jesus) ask “if there be any other way . . . take this cup from me” and yet I ache to ultimately surrender to the process God has set forth and receive the revelation of life it brings. Just as Jesus faithfully endured agony and pain to bring life to me (and you and all of humanity), so, too, I ache to faithfully endure the pain of childbirth, keeping my eyes on the promise of new life that will come through it. I want more than anything for my spirit to be tender and receptive to the whisper of God in this process . . . not to resist and fight it, but to open entirely to the prophetic picture God intends to deliver as I walk this road. Though some may see the pain of childbirth as a curse that fell on Eve in the garden (as perhaps I did at one time), I am beginning to view it as one of the greatest gifts God has given women . . . an opportunity not only to intimately participate in the creation process, but also to taste of the agony of his sacrifice and the triumphant victory of new life it affords!

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