To Everything There is a Season
"All these are the beginning of birth pains." Matthew 24:8
You're doing well friends! Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, and breathe out. Focus now and don't forget those years of coaching from the Master Teacher. Push, push...rest a bit. Okay, press through, you can do it. Remember--you are overcomers. Keep your eyes on the focal point of life...Jesus. He is the only way.
Honestly, I cannot begin to count the number of Christians who have shared about the tremendous spiritual warfare they're experiencing; the pressure and the intensity of their walk with Christ these days. Can you sense it?
The processes of God sometimes reminds me of the pressure cooker my mother used in preparing or preserving food. Pressure-cooking is a method using a sealed vessel that does not permit air or liquids to escape below preset pressure. The intensity and the high temperature completes the task quickly and purifies the precious commodities. This process is extremely efficient, but a bit dangerous. There is just one tiny hole on the lid of the cooker to release enough steam to prevent an explosion. Now, it's as if we're the precious ones in the cooker. Hold on, beloved! You're nearly ready to serve!
There is one absolute in learning to live under pressure while giving birth--we can't change our minds in the middle of labor (the battle). Oh, we'd like to, but the Holy Ghost has set us up and there's no turning back.
Liken it to a woman in intense labor during natural childbirth. As the force of the contractions increase, she'd love to say, "Excuse me, doctor, I've changed my mind. I'd really like to quit now. Things have just gotten too intense. No one told me it would be this messy, difficult and painful. Gotta run!" However, in reality, we know we must press through. Remember, dear ones, nothing can be delivered without that final push.
Of course, sometimes, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. We're fatigued from the battle. We feel like we'll die if we push, but we'll die if we don't push. We must remember there is always labor before birth. One secret of bringing forth life is to not focus on the labor, as we'll just magnify the pain. We must stay focused on being a co-laborer with Christ. What an honor! He gave us His life, and we give Him ours. I don't know about you, but my life is all I have to offer Jesus as a sacrifice of my eternal love. Everything else is temporal.
I've heard many believers say the pressure is becoming so great it's almost debilitating. I submit to you that prior to birth, a baby is silent and still for 24 hours. If you're feeling a bit paralyzed, perhaps it's almost time for delivery and multiple births for some. Go ahead, be still, and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10). Congratulations! The Lord is preparing a place for you, as you prepare a place for Him.
To Resist the Pain is to Resist the Gain
As the "body" groans with the onset of birth pains, it seems to reject all that was. Everything that was comfortable, felt safe and warm and seems to be ending, and rightly so. There is massive change all around and the inevitably of this brings tension, perhaps even suffering. In fact, the rejection may seem so great it's comparable to stage three of transitional labor in natural childbirth, causing extreme pressure and nausea. But, alleluia! In birthing, it's the rejection and the pressure that actually pushes outnew life as we labor in love.
Yes, it's tough. It's as if life is trying to cling to life when the Lord is saying, "Let go! Let God! I want to multiply. I want to bear fruit. Life must beget life. Don't cling to something that's not even yours." Dear friends, we're stewards ofeverything, and owners of nothing.
The long, dark birth canal of God's purposes seems to never end and the resistance is great. The enemy mocks, "You can't get in here!" (II Samuel 5:6), trying to throw confusion into the camp and abort God-ordained assignments. However, we must also remember it's God who comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable. He loves us too much to allow us to be complacent, and He will not leave us as we are, where we are.
Birthing involves squeezing through a small, narrow space in order to launch us into a large, expanded place. As we're squeezed and pressured, we must examine what comes forth. Is it love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self-control? Oh, we say we have the fruit of the spirit and when it's time, we'll use it to reach the world. But, how do we really know if fruit is ripe until it's squeezed? Tested?
Beloved, if we can't survive in the birth canal of God, we'll never make it when we're thrust out into the world. Perhaps we must remain in the dark, pressurized conduit a bit longer as we're shaped into Christlikeness. It's here we're transformed into conduits ourselves to carry the Lord's glory. As mentioned above, perhaps we must stay in the pressure cooker until we're tenderized with the meekness of Jesus.
The secrets to survival during the pressure process are to trust the Almighty and stay in peace and stay in love.Yes, even when you don't have a clue what's at the end of the tunnel, your Father does. Beloved, it is not just what we say, but what we do that reveals the character of Christ in us. What seems like rejection from the body is actually what the Father uses to deliver His creations. We naturally draw near to Him as we suffer birthing pangs and it's in this intimacy that all fear is cast out.
I'm always so disappointed when I hear of women giving birth (in the natural) who swear during the process. I'm thinking to myself, "Wow, you need all the help you can get right now. Not a good time to curse God." I've read that birthing is actually the closest experience there is to dying. Everything in us is intense, fighting, laboring, struggling to hold onto something that's become a part of us. But, all the while, God is saying, "I am about to make all things new! Push, push into the future."
Let's refuse to go from drama to drama, crisis to crisis, my friends. Rather, we shall go from peace to peace and glory to glory, believing all things work together for the good for those who love Christ Jesus and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
Are You Expectant?
As we are celebrating Rosh Hashanah and are entering into a seven-year cycle of blessing, let's reflect for a moment on the seeds we've sown and the labor we've experienced. How can we help but smile at the goodness of God? We've counted the cost, we've tilled the fields, and the Lord has made dreams grow. We've been as farmers preparing for the harvest. They begin with fertile seed, the Creator gives living water, and the "Son" brings forth fruition. Dear friends, the Church is entering into a season of fertility, a season of harvest. Consequently, she groans with birth pains. For those who have believed, labored and loved in the midst of persecution like our Savior, He is about to deliver--multiple births.
As we anticipate the future of a glorious Church again, we can liken it to natural childbirth, knowing that we will not remember the pain, once we are overcome with joy unspeakable. For the Lord declares, "Behold, I create new Heavens and a new earth, and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind." Isaiah 65:17
I enjoy the way The Message Bible describes it: "That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times. The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens" Romans 8:18-21
Press through beloved, push, push! It will all be worth it.
Groans for Future Glory
The whole earth groans under the pain of its iniquity. The lawlessness, evil, and darkness seem overwhelming at times. I don't think we can even imagine what it takes to usher in the new Heaven and new earth and that's why we co-labor with Christ--He knows. That's why the Spirit Himself intercedes for us and builds us up, even as we sleep. Very recently, I dreamt that Jesus, Himself, came to me and kept saying, "Faint not, I'm coming soon, faint not, I'm coming soon!" Fear not, dear ones, for Christ is not overwhelmed, but rather has overcome the world.
Can you feel the pressure? How canman comprehend the weight of the glory of God in the womb of God? We cannot. We must simply believe, anticipate and rejoice.
"Arounduswe observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it's not only around us; it's within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We're also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us; any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don't see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy." Romans 8:22-25 (The Message Bible)
Keep laboring for the harvest, beloved. It will all be gloriously worth it! At the end of a dark tunnel is the light, a rainbow covenant of love.
"Wake up. Put your face in the sunlight. God's bright glory has risen for you. The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, all people sunk in deep darkness, But God rises on you, and His sunrise glory breaks over you. Nations will come to your light, kings to your sunburst brightness. Look up! Look around! Watch as they gather, watch as they approach you: Your sons coming from great distances, your daughters carried by their nannies. When you see them coming you'll smile--big smiles! Your heart will swell and, yes, burst! All those people returning by sea for the reunion, a rich harvest of exiles gathered in from the nations!" Isaiah 60:1-3 (The Message Bible)
Copyright © Paulette Reed Ministries.