Gospel of Pain

When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. –Jesus Christ (John 16:21)

“The whole creation has been groaning in labor pains, even until now.” (Rom 8:22)

From what I understand, giving birth is no picnic. No co-incidence that we call it “labor.”

No labor—again, they tell me—no labor is more back-breaking. An old friend of mine actually managed to break her coccyx while delivering her first child.

We all caused some poor woman some distress, back when we first started this pilgrim life. We try to make it right by sending flowers one Sunday a year.

The whole creation groans. The whole creation strains the tailbone. The whole creation writhes with a sore back. The labor continues. We press through the birth canal, groping our way toward the light.

The light is Christ, risen from the dead. The birth for which all creation groans is this: the end of futility, the end of strife, the fulfillment of everything we hope for and dream about.

The child coos. The body rests. The future opens. The pain fades.

Life. Life gets born. The pain is not the end. Death is not the end.

Creation groans because she is giving birth to eternal life.

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