Written by Thomas Manning
Have you ever given birth? If you’re a guy, I sure hope your answer is no! But for any of us who are parents, we’ve all experienced birth pains in some way or another. For the woman giving birth to her child, the pain is experienced. For the man watching and waiting, the pain is witnessed. Sometimes the pain is unbearable, sometimes it feels like it won’t end… until the baby is delivered.
My wife and I have three children, and I remember each and every time when our boys were born, that feeling of overwhelming pain transformed into incredible joy, for a miracle just took place. A new life was created.
So now you’re sitting here, reading this and wondering… “What does birthing pain have to do with anything? And I can’t relate, because I don’t have children.” But sit here and stay with me a moment, because in our lives, we all experience pain, heartache, struggles, some of which are unbearable. Maybe someone if your life has passed away, or maybe your marriage is falling apart. It’s during these moments, and how we react to them, that can lead to breakthrough in our lives, because…
Our pains can birth God’s miracles.
Jesus Christ Himself gives us the best illustration for this statement. In the book of Isaiah (written hundreds of years before Jesus was born), he prophesied about the death of Jesus:
“He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53: 5)
God’s greatest miracle ever, in history before, now, and forever, was the freedom of our sins. The pain, agony, and despair Jesus felt on the cross before His death gave way to our forgiveness. Jesus Christ birthed new life in us. In the same way, a mother who perseveres through the pains of labor brings a new life into this world.
Ask yourself this – what is God trying to birth in you through your pain? We can hold onto our pain and grow resentful, angry, or depressed… or we can lift it up to God and let Him use it to birth new life, new possibilities, and new attitudes into us and our situations. One of my greatest pains was witnessing the death of my father, and yet in the same year he died, I rededicated my life to Jesus and found my calling to be a minister.
As followers of Jesus Christ, God birthed forgiveness and grace through Jesus’ overwhelming pain and sorrow. He did that for us as a whole, but He also wants to do it personally, through each and every one of us and the pain that we carry. How can God birth joy in your sadness? How can God birth reconciliation in your broken relationships? Let me encourage you in the words of the apostle Paul:
In every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4: 6-7).
What miracle can God do through your pain today?
Thomas Manning is a graduate of the Northeast Ministry School and currently serves as the Ambridge campus director. Thomas and his wife, who also serves at Ambridge as the production director, have been married for eight years and have three young boys.