"Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life." (Psalm 119:49-50)
August 25, 2009
Pregnancy is weird. On so many levels, it's a wonderful -- but weird -- phenomenon. First you get pregnant...the seed is planted, if you will. Then it takes all this time to grow and mature. And at each stage, something significant is happening to your body and to the baby. But most of the time, you walk around completely unaware of the significance of what is happening at that moment. When you're pregnant there are certain things you have to give up, for the good of the baby. An addiction to coffee perhaps, or a particular food or drink. There are medicines you can't take, things you can't lift, activities you have to limit. At first it seems an inconvenience, but realize quickly it's a small price to pay for what's to come. You have these weird symptoms that change from week-to-week. And they even change from pregnancy-to-pregnancy. Some days you're exhausted, some days you have energy. You can experience nausea, heartburn and false contractions with one pregnancy. With the other it can be cravings, swollen feet and forgetfulness. It's weird that you can have the basic knowledge of pregnancy, but frequently the symptoms or circumstances completely vary. Halfway through the pregnancy, you start to feel the stirrings -- the bumps, rolls and kicks -- that remind you daily there is a living blessing inside of you. Some days it's all you can think about. Other days you're too busy with what's in front of you to daydream about When. Toward the end you grow impatient and uncomfortable. You start to nest and plan and prepare. You make lists to ensure all the I's are dotted and the T's are crossed. You start to have contractions and false labor. Each time you think "this is it! It's happening!" just to face the disappointment that it isn't quite time. But you "suddenly" realize that day is coming when this child will be born and nothing will ever be the same again. And then he comes. The promise fulfilled. And you cry with joy because the outcome was worth the wait. Worth the pain. And you also cry with relief that it's over, and that it will be awhile before you go through that again. As I sit here just now 6 months pregnant with a son, I'm reminded of the similarities between an earthly pregnancy and a spiritual one. Many times in life I've been "pregnant" with a promise from God...a promise of something to come. And it's been a process to the birth of that promise. Sometimes longer than a typical pregnancy...sometimes shorter. But always, it's a process. First the seed is planted. God speaks a Word to my heart of a promise to come. At first I may not know the specifics about it -- whether it's a boy or girl -- but I know it's going to be a "baby." And it takes all this time to grow and mature. At each stage, something significant is happening spiritually in my spirit and to the promise. I'm being prepared, and the promise is being prepared. Most of the time, I walk around completely unaware of the significance of what is happening at that moment. But when it comes to promises of God, there is always something significant happening. When I'm pregnant with a promise, there are certain things I have to give up for the good of the promise. Things I have to say goodbye to -- things that are bad for me, but also some things that are good. Sometimes I have to sacrifice something great, maybe even something God gave me, in obedience to what is to come. At first it seems an inconvenience, but I realize quickly it's a small price to pay for what's to come. I start to have these weird symptoms that change from week-to-week, and even month-to-month. Some days I'm energized and praying for the promise. Other days I'm discouraged and convinced I heard wrong. Other times I'm tested in whether or not I'm going to believe God anyway, despite it all. Some of the time it seems like mini-baby steps. Other times it seems like it's two steps forward, one step back. Halfway through the process, I start to feel the stirrings -- the anticipation, the confirmations, the re-iterations of the Word that it's real and it's going to happen. There are reminders from day-to-day that there is a living blessing inside of me. Some days it's all I can think about. Other days I'm too busy with what's in front of me to daydream about the When. Toward the end I grow impatient and uncomfortable. Irritation at the lack of fulfillment heightens. I want to nest and plan and prepare. I think I need to make lists to ensure all the I's are dotted and T's are crossed. I start to have contractions and false labor. Each phone call or email that comes, I think "this is it! It's happening!" just to face the disappointment that it isn't quite time. But I "suddenly" realize that day is coming when this promise will be born and nothing will ever be the same again. And then it comes. The promise fulfilled. And I cry with joy because the outcome was worth the wait. Worth the pain. And I also cry with relief that it's over...and that it will be awhile before I go through that again. As I am growing impatient during this process, both physically and spiritually, I'm comforted by the multiple examples of others who had to wait for the promise to be birthed. Each of these loved God, were given a promise, and in the end truly believed God would fulfill it: - The Israelites had a looooooong pregnancy. - Mary had a confusing pregnancy. - Noah had a pregnancy that brought ridicule. - Esther had a possibly life-threatening pregnancy. - Job's pregnancy was heart-wrenching and flesh-eating. - David's pregnancy was spent on the run. - Jacob wrestled during his pregnancy. - Moses died just as he was about to give birth. - Sarah was beyond old during pregnancy. - Abraham's pregnancy seemed impossible. - No one trusted Paul was really pregnant. - Peter denied he was pregnant. And the list goes on. The most encouraging was Jesus. He had a fruitful and prosperous pregnancy on Earth. He didn't just wait for It -- He waited on His Father. He trusted His timing. When it came time to birth the promise, the labor was torturous. The delivery the most excruciating. But the Blessing that followed was worth it all. As I ponder these parallel pregnancies occurring in my life, I am reminded again of something Beth Moore said in her study of Esther. She said that waiting on the Lord will renew our strength. But waiting on The Thing will deplete our energy. Physically, I am waiting FOR my son. And spiritually, I'm waiting ON The Son. In both cases, I'm expecting.
at 5:50 PM