We have a new baby in our family circle!
And we’re laughing with delight.
As any mom can tell, the last week of pregnancy can be ingratiatingly frustrating. When is it time to head for the hospital? What constitutes a real contraction? Is there such a thing as false labor? (We found out the current term is “Prodromal labor” and it’s a real thing. The contractions are different than the Braxton-Hicks contractions which are just practice contractions. Read more here. Skip if this is TMI.)
That’s what the final week was like for our daughter. 300 miles away, we agonized with her as we waited and waited. Waiting is HARD! No laughing here or there! We’re worse than a kid at Christmas, waiting for that precious grandbaby. And, beneath our excitement, we’re so grateful for modern medicine. Many of us women soberly recognize that if we had lived 200 years ago, we would not have survived the delivery of our children.
As I waited for the news that week, I worked on lessons for my “Life of Abraham bible study.” Of all passages, the next lesson for me to prepare was about the birth of Isaac. Since my mind was filled with thoughts about the birth process, I realized there was more to this story than Sarah’s ability to conceive. She was old! She was 90 years old! Would she have had the strength and stamina to carry a child for nine months and then deliver that child? Did Sarah think about those aspects of bringing a child into the world? That would be part of the package deal of God’s promises—you WILL bear a child. If God has promised you a son, Sarah, you will go full term and bring that child into the world.
Evidently, Sarah didn’t do too badly through the labor; she was laughing about the birth after it happened! (See Genesis 21:1-7.)
Then I thought about another baby. Christmas is coming. Christmas is supposed to be about the birth of Jesus. With my mother’s heart lingering close to my daughter’s labor, my quirky brain wondered what kind of birth experience Mother Mary had.
She was the mother of God the Son so wouldn’t she sail through the birth pain-free? For some crazy reason, I’ve always believed Mary had an easy birth. Yes, there was the frustrating moment of searching for a hotel room and NOT getting it. But after that? It must have been this beautiful, ethereal experience all mothers dream of: the silent night, the cows lowing, and Joseph lovingly attending her. Isn’t that what the carols suggest? Surely, nothing could go wrong since God planned since the beginning of time for Jesus to come into the world. Right?
Nice fantasy but we have no evidence to support that Mary had an easy birth. In fact, Revelation 12 makes me speculate that all the powers of hell were unleashed against her. After all, You Know Who would NOT want that baby born.
But God did, and for that reason, no matter what kind of birth experience Mary had or what kind of obstacles she faced the week before, that baby WOULD be born. The God who had made it possible for Mary to conceive would also be with Mary to protect and strengthen her and to ensure that in the end, she would hold a baby in her arms.
You and me.
For that matter, both Mary and Sarah could endure whatever they faced because God had made it clear. They WOULD have a child. That child WOULD be used in God’s greater plan. Whatever happened, however difficult the process might be, when all was said and done, there would be a baby.
I find great hope in that for my personal life, and you can too. God’s power fulfill His promises go far beyond the birthing process. Whatever difficulty you currently face, God has promised to see you through to the other side of it. He never promised it would be easy and he never guaranteed you would sail through it. But He has promised He would stay with you and strengthen you, and that you will reach His ultimate plan for you.
You will be victorious. God’s bigger plan will be accomplished, and He’ll keep His end of the deal to see you all the way to eternity if you don’t give up.
Check out these wonderful verses:
Yet he [Abraham] did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.– Romans 4:20,21 (NIV)
God has the power to do what he has promised! Isn’t that wonderful?
He’s not like us who will make a promise then discover later that we can’t keep the promise we have made because of extenuating circumstances. God has the power to do what He has promised!
So, as you look toward preparations for Christmas and as you face unexpected obstacles, may you walk into this time of celebration with your faith and hope held high because you KNOW God has the power to do what He has promised. He did it with Sarah. He did it with Mary. And He’ll do it for you. Like Sarah, you’ll find yourself laughing with delight over the miracles only God can do. Like Mary, you can exult in His goodness, for you, like Mary, have seen the Mighty One do great things for you (Luke 1:49).