Birth Pains

Almost 26 years ago I was on my way to Worcester, MA to give birth to my daughter.  I remember as if it were yesterday when I felt the first contraction.  I got up around 3:00 am feeling a little tiny cramp.  Since I never had cramps before, I remember thinking ‘how weak these women are complaining about the pain of giving birth, this is so tolerable’.  Little did I know what I was going to experience later.  The only pain worse than that was an infected tooth that required a root canal treatment.  I think I literally left my fingers mark on the metal armrest at the dentist’s office chair.  As I tried to squeeze my pain away my mind was elevating Vívian, my 5 year old daughter at the time, into the throne of God in supplication.  I prayed for her to have very strong teeth.  I know the Lord answered my prayer because to this day she never had any cavity; praises be to Him!

Her dad was still sleeping.  My due date was on the 17th but I really wanted her to come that Sunday.  I wanted to be strong enough to attend a special event in church on the following weekend.  During the pregnancy I heard that walking would help with delivery.  So I was determined to put it to the test.  We lived in a small two-bedroom apartment, but that didn’t prevent me from walking around the dinner table like a bug circulating a lamp.  That was the best space available.  Contractions kept increasing in strength, causing me lots of pain, real pain.  But not only that, they started to come within shorter and shorter time apart.  By now, I was considering every woman to be a hero and despising every man on the face of the earth for not having to go through birth pains.

Close to 6:00 am I made sure my sleeping husband was up and calling the doctor, who told me to go the hospital.  After the long drive with me in the passenger seat, contorting like an earth warm on hot cement, we arrived and I was immediately admitted.  My daughter was eager to leave the safety of my womb and explore this world.   And so she was born, a tiny little girl who would change my life forever.  She came to bring me the biggest joy, to make me feel the deepest love, and to put a weight of concerns on my soul.  I became a mother…

Today, reflecting back on the birth pains I remembered the Bible verse from Mark 13:8 where we read about the end times.  Through my life I’ve heard of so many catastrophes.  They have been increasing in quantity, and in strength.  As an added tragedy, there hasn’t been much time between them.  Actually, so many are happening at the same time that the news haven’t been able to keep up broadcasting it all.  As I am writing this post, hurricane Irma just passed leaving so much devastation, right after hurricane Harvey.  This later one also left a huge trail of destruction on its path; and hurricane Jose and Katia are already on the way.  At the same time, not so much broadcasted on the news, the West of the United States has undergone wildfires bigger than predicted.  Oregon, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Utah, and California have suffered damages from the dried-out lands.  What a contrast!  Some states under water and others under fire!  Not to mention North Korea’s threat to the US after UN attempts to halt their weapons programs.

Countries are at war for power, domination and survival.  There is a continuous drug cartel war in Mexico with despicable violence.  If it wasn’t enough, an 8.1 earthquake just intensified their daily life struggles to the extremities.  In the Congo ethnic hatred groups have caused deaths, villages wiped out, and more than 3.8 million out from their homes.  Myanmar is undergoing crimes against humanity in an attempt to an “ethnic cleansing”.   These are only a few of the latest reports of things happening around the world.  We are living difficult times.

There is a prediction that the world is coming to an end on September 23rd. This is based on the stars alignment on that day and Revelation 12:1-2, where it is written, “And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth”.  In several articles we read that these verses are referring to the constellation Virgo (woman) over the moon (moon at Virgo’s feet) under 12 stars (9 stars of the constellation Leo plus the planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars above her head), and Jupiter (a son) exiting the center of Virgo (birth).

I’m not entirely accepting this prediction as there are other articles debating it, but I’m sure we are living the last days.  In Joel 1:15 and 2:1 we read that the day of the Lord is near, bringing destruction, and we should tremble.  What are we supposed to do then?  Where to go, or where to hide in these perilous days?  “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).  Indeed, there is a place to hide where we can feel secured.

The other day someone close to me said that a time is coming when only faith will see us through.  Nothing else can give us assurance.  Those who seek the Lord for help trusting on His Word will truly find rest for their soul.  Other verses in Joel 2:12-13 read, “Even now, declares the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your hearts and not your garments.  Return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

I’m not sure what you are facing these days.  Maybe you have been affected in some way by one of these dreadful natural disasters or other misfortunes, or maybe you are living what seems to be a good life without a care in this world.  Reality is that whatever your circumstances are they don’t change what we all have in common – a temporary body.  We don’t know when our last day on this earth will be.  We need to be ready for it.  The only inevitability we all possess is a death sentence that we inherited at birth.  The Bible says in Hebrews 9:27 “…it is appointed to men to die once, but after this the judgment”.

Isn’t it better to be prepared?