A Picture of the Gospel
There are many ways that childbirth points us to the gospel. I’ll pick one way: the painful one. Even the ordinary, globally experienced phenomenon of birth pain points us to the gospel. I think it’s just beautiful how God, in the mind of the eternal triune God, planned—from before time, before he even created Adam and Eve, before they sinned, before he pronounced the judgments of pain in childbirth that hinders our procreation and pain from thorns that hinders our productivity—for his Son to be born through the judgment of birth pain and bear our judgment on the cross, wearing a crown of thorns and bursting through the birth pains of death to bring everyone who trusts in him with him into resurrection glory in the new creation. How amazing is that? And the testimonial presence of laboring mothers everywhere in this world shows us a picture of the gospel that should bring us to our knees and thrill our hearts to no end.
Your mothering ministry demonstrates the power of the gospel through your weaknesses and even your trials are counted as joy.
To Remember God’s Mercy
We’ve been given a reminder of God’s mercy and provision for us sinners when we think about how it is that a mother undergoes birth pains. Whether or not that pain is alleviated by medicine or not is not the point. We see a picture of the gospel story where our Savior bore our judgment and satisfied the wrath of God—giving his life so we could be born again.
The Christ is Jesus. All of the birth pain language of judgment for sin and judgment paired with hope, all of the barrenness or fertility themes, all of the commands to multiply image bearers and make disciples in the Bible—they all point to Christ. So next time you see a newborn baby or hear one cry or hold one in your arms, consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8). Every baby delivered through the judgment of birth pain is evidence of God’s mercy. Judgment is not the final word.
When you see a pregnant woman or an expectant adoptive mom here you see a reminder that every complicating pain in bringing forth children should point us to the fact that we are sinners in need of a deliverer. The world is not as it should be nor as it will be. The judgment of God really is coming and everyone who is not united to the judgment bearer, Christ, will suffer the wrath of God for their sin.
Believe God is merciful and repent of your sin. As you labor in evangelism and discipleship, labor with hope. Paul says he’s in the throes of birth pain until Christ is formed in his disciples in Galatia. We here, in the overlap of the ages, can be encouraged by how the New Testament epistles describe how the disciples of Jesus are privileged to suffer for him as they make disciples of all nations.
The Power of the Gospel
Moms, spiritual moms, biological moms, foster moms, adoptive moms: as you mother your children and disciples, consider the birth pain metaphor in Scripture as you nourish yourself and those whom you’re raising up with God’s Word. Realize that your motherhood is a challenge that proves God’s strength and sufficiency. Your suffering to make disciples will produce a greater joy than whatever it costs you to bring the gospel to the nations.
Your mothering ministry demonstrates the power of the gospel through your weaknesses and even your trials are counted as joy—joy that points you to Jesus who writhed in agony on the cross for the joy set before him. And when you see the mom who looks like she’s about to burst she’s so heavily pregnant, you can feel the ache of the disciples who, for three days had sorrow, but then on the third day, experienced joy that no one could take away from them.
And now in the waiting period, you also can experience that joy as you long and wait for Jesus to return and bring the new creation in full. Our suffering in this present age, as we live in a fallen world and make disciples, our suffering will give way to glory—and he is coming quickly.
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God gives us gifts and abilities; then he gives us children. And perhaps it seems he’s made an error when our gifts and abilities seem completely irrelevant to the job of bringing up children and caring for a home.
The world tells mothers that they can do it all and have it all, but that they need not give their all.