When my friends share stories of the joys and labor-pangs accompanying childbirth, I can only offer a blank stare in return. My journey to motherhood did not involve the physical pain that characterizes the hospital labor room. And while I was spared the typical ordeals of delivery, I can say the emotional and spiritual travail that come with adoption equal and possibly out-measure the challenges faced in the average neonatal ward.
Whatever the path by which one arrives at parenthood, all share very similar tribulations when it comes to parenting. No heart is immune to the ache of love, the raw desire for our children to grow and live to their fullest potential. The exploits and outcomes of child rearing can be summarized in two words.
Joy. And pain.
The Bible speaks of a time of great tribulation come upon the earth, equating the related events to birth pangs.
We have a heavenly Father who adopts those who accept his offer of forgiveness. He loves us to the point of dying for us. And he uses any and every circumstance to birth the best in us and through us. Often that means allowing trying events to awaken a remembrance within us that a greater glory is yet to come in our eternal home with him.
The ultimate glory is not in the here and now.
And so, as it is written, comes “nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom…famines and earthquakes in various places…an increase of wickedness.” Calamity upon calamity. Hatred and persecutions. The full outcome of human will independent of God. And love grown cold.
These things must come, it says.
They. Must. Come.
A woman must endure the pains of labor to experience the joy of holding a newborn baby.
And the world must travail that greater things would come to birth.
Joy. And pain.
Our Father desires that none perish and all come to repentance. What circumstances will bring lost, treasured souls into the adoptive care of our loving father? What will bring our own souls closer to him than ever before?
And what tribulation must come to bring us to the fulfillment of the ultimate promise—that of an everlasting home in which “he will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 22:4).