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Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Creation's Birth Pains
Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty and makes it waste,
Distorts its surface
And scatters abroad its inhabitants...
The earth is violently broken,
The earth is split open,
The earth is shaken exceedingly.
~ Isaiah 24:1,19 (NKJV)
I read Isaiah. I read the headlines. I see Christians and non-Christians alike experiencing unrivaled hardship.
I emerge from the valley of death's shadow and feel darkness licking at my heels. It still wants me.
Was life always this difficult and I never saw it? Or are we nearing the end?
"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars ...
There will be famines and earthquakes ...
All these are the beginning of birth pains...
At that time many will turn away from the faith ...
many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold."
~ Jesus describing signs of the end (Matthew 24:6-12 NIV)
Is it just me, or do I also observe unrivaled apathy? Have we, as a people, heard about so many disasters and diseases—have our eyes seen too many violent acts and victims—that we have found ways to desensitize ourselves to the pain and thereby also desensitized our love?
Must the Lord then allow the pain to become more intense, lest we either accept the brokenness of our world or believe that we are capable to fix it ourselves?
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
~ Romans 8:22-23 (NKJV)
I've birthed five children. I tried an epidural for the first one, but it didn't work correctly and caused far more pain than it relieved, so I didn't try to numb the pain again. I learned to pray through it, taking hold of necessary strength from God.
These are characteristics of birth pains: they get horrifically worse, you don't get out of them except by going through them, and they do end—with the most intense exhilaration life offers.
God's Word says the same of the birth pangs we share with creation. Efforts to mitigate suffering ultimately prove futile. We emerge not by running away, but by pushing through to promised joy and peace.
You will keep in perfect peace, The one fixed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the LORD forever,
For in YAH, the LORD, is everlasting strength
[Rock of Ages].
~ Isaiah 26:3-4
Lord, whatever lies ahead, in our world or in our lives, we know we can persevere with the strength You supply. We trust You not to leave us. We look to You to preserve us in peace.
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This is the "rest of the story" connected to my testimony of gratitude posted at Everyday Testimonies.
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Copyright 2011, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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