Two dramatically different birth experiences. The first one; after more than 24 hours of labor and 2 hours of pushing, it was clear to everyone that my son was literally stuck and going nowhere. Although the final result, following an emergency C Section, was a perfect little boy, I was also left with some emotional wounds that went beyond w
hat my body went through during that long day. A residual sense of fear, disappointment in myself, and even grief as I mourned the experience I had hoped to have.
Fast forward 16 months to the second one. I went to bed one night with a pretty strong sense that the baby would come that night. Woke up at 2:00 am clearly feeling I needed to go to the hospital right away. We contacted a couple of people, took care of a few details before heading downtown, arrived at the hospital and 20 minutes later our son was born. A joyful and healing experience every step of the way!
So why am I bringing this up now? It has been nearly 11 years since that second experience. But God continues to use what he began to teach me then to encourage me to keep my eyes fixed on him through all the trials and challenges of this life.
Both experiences were hard. Just because the second one was fast didn’t mean it was without pain. In fact, in some ways the speed of the second birth was also reflected in the intensity. But what was transformational about the experience, was that at every moment of it, I clearly knew it was producing a result.
And when you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the pain you are experiencing, the effort you are putting forth, is accomplishing the goal you set out to accomplish, I am convinced that you can do anything, and you can do it with joy!
So now, as trials and sorrows come my way I know that these trials can be transformed to joy if I can have confidence that they are producing a result. But it certainly doesn’t always feel that way. In the midst of many struggles it can feel very much like the pain and stress is accomplishing nothing or at least nothing good. How then can I still have this confidence? By clinging to the Word and Promises of God.
He promises me that, “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
He promises me “that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3-4
He promises me that He is “making everything new.” Revelation 21:5
He promises me that “this happened so that the works of God might be displayed.” John 9:3
He promises me that “My Father is always at his work to this very day.” John 5:17
He promises me that “[He] chose [me] and appointed [me] so that [I] might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” John 15:16
And so many more…
The more I study God’s Word in the Bible, the more His promises become written on my heart, assuring me that he is always at work in my life producing the precise result he intends, to draw me closer to him.
And I don’t only have his promises to cling to. I also have his most beautiful and powerful example:
“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2
Jesus himself suffered far beyond anything I can imagine, and he did so with joy. How? Because every step of the way He knew it was accomplishing the purpose for which he set out.
So today as you are hit by the pain or stress of life, take a breath and lean into Jesus. Remind yourself of His promises and His love. Fix your eyes on him and take the next step forward with joy knowing your effort is producing a good result.