I’m thankful for my guest blogger, Victoria Monet, as she shares her heart with us. Victoria is from Georgetown, Texas. She loves her husband, son, dog, and impacting others’ everyday theology through creative writing and teaching. She writes poetry and topical articles on her blog “Theology Reflected.”
I remember the pains of childbirth. For about 45 minutes, I was stuck in intense contractions that happen just before the pushing stage. Amidst the pain, I tried as hard I could to focus on deep breathing and exhaling with a long, low moan. I tried to remember that I would meet my baby soon—that after nine months of carrying and growing him inside of me, I would finally see his sweet little face. After almost one year of seeing him laugh and smile every day, I now have the perspective to know every minute of the pain was worth it.
But at the time, 45 minutes felt like forever. I so badly wanted the pain to end, or at least to have a timeline of when the pain would end. Another 30 minutes, maybe an hour? When is it time to push?
The apostle Paul writes about this pre-pushing stage that we live in, in his letter to the Romans:
“For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies” (8:22–23).
We live in the throes of intense contractions. We feel the weight of death, and we try, as hard as we can to focus on breathing in deep and exhaling with a long, low moan. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to survive in a fallen world.
Recently I attended the memorial service of my friend’s baby boy who died a few days after birth. His death has made me feel, deep in my bones, the aches of living in a fallen world. I’ve felt, along with the parents and community around them, groanings and longings for all things to be made right again—for the world and life to be as it’s meant to be.
The words of the pastor who spoke at the memorial service continue to echo in my mind…“this is not how it’s meant to be…death is the enemy.”
If only we could have a timeline. When will all the pain come to an end? When will death be no more? Another 30 days? Maybe another year, Lord?
As we continue in the Lenten season, preparing our hearts for Good Friday, the remembrance of Christ’s death, and anticipating Easter, the remembrance of Christ’s resurrection, we wait in this almost-pushing season. We wait through winter, in all its barrenness, to end, and for spring, with all its blossoming, to begin.
The branches of barren trees that bend, weighed down by the gravity of a groaning world, will soon sprout fresh green leaves and bloom with pink and purple flowers.
Even though sometimes the pains of waiting in this almost-pushing season feel like forever, when winter ends and spring begins, Good Friday passes and Easter arrives, we’re reminded that Christ has come and will come again. Someday soon, he will bring eternal spring. The pains of childbirth and death will fade to a distant memory as we enter into the joy of glory.
Until then, we and all creation groan inwardly and eagerly wait for the day when death will be finally defeated, and he will make all things right. In this waiting period, God has not left us alone, but rather he has given us his Spirit to guide, comfort, lead, and strengthen us on this struggle-filled journey to full redemption.
O, Morning of mournings
Sweet, holy sunrise,
When will he hear their cries
The weeping of trees,
The wallows of birds,
Deep in the night
Yet he is the one who
Created their tears
And will carry them through
And will lead them,
Someday, soon, before long
To the place where the sun always shines.