These days we have been receiving the good news of new arrivals as well as the news of looking forwards for the arrivals of the new ones. This made me think of the strong connection between the experience of a mother and child during the conception, labour and delivery with the experience of salvation and Christian life.
This article is a brief reflection on the salvation experience which the Bible itself presents using metaphors of child birth: Born from above (anew) (John 3: 1-10); new creation in Christ (2Cor. 5:17, 18); creation groaning for redemption as in child birth
The happiest moment of any couple’s life is hearing the news of pregnancy. Especially, for women, the news of conceiving a child is very special, that they are going to become a mother. Each and every moment throughout the period of pregnancy as the mother carries the child in her womb, she gives utmost care for every move she makes and even carefully chooses her food and drink for the sake of the baby’s health.
Though the news of pregnancy comes with joy, it comes along with its own pains and struggles which is so difficult to explain or for others to understand even for the people who have been through the similar stage of life. The agony of bringing forth the child into the world at the end of the pregnancy is the culmination of the process. For every mother labor pain is worth suffering for they proudly bring forth a new life into existence. The experience of Christian life is very similar to this. It comes with its own struggles and pain, which sometimes becomes difficult to understand but the beauty of the pain and struggle during pregnancy is that it does not take away the joy and looking forward for the baby.
For a true child of God all the struggles it takes is worth enduring as they are looking forward for attaining the fullness in Christ. The joy of becoming like Christ gives every believer the strength to endure the struggles with the joy.
Christ is the key person in the process. Just as the fetus has no existence without the mother, so a believer has no existence without Christ.
Every stage of pregnancy is very important and crucial for the development of the child. The full term must come to maturity for the complete development and growth of the fetus into a healthy child. As the child grows in the womb, the mother and child develop a natural bond with each other, which constantly increases with each passing day. This bond is important for child’s dependents on mother and mother’s compassionate care for the child. In the life of a believer from the time of their salvation experience, they should not just have a personal relationship with Christ but also must develop a deeper bond with Him as they progress in their Christian life.
The mother brings the child into the world with pain and agony. Similarly, the Christ event in the history of God becoming human and dying on the cross signifies the labor of God to make everyone a new creation in Christ. The cross symbolizes the labor pain of God as Thomas Andrew Bennett puts it in his book Labor of God. Prophet Isaiah foresaw the agony of Christ in
Isaiah 53. For the new birth of the humanity, the righteous one had to bear all the pain and agony for the sake of each one of us.
When a believer progresses in the road of Christian journey which is marked by hardship and agony they often forget that Christ is always with them in their struggles. We often forget that these struggles that we undergo are significant to shape us to the maturity in Christ. As the baby goes through each stage of development, the mother is equally experiencing the struggle with the child. Paul’s analogy of the ‘new Creation in Christ’ can be clearly understood with the help of child birth. While the child securely develops in the mother’s womb, it is the mother who endures all the stress and strains of bringing the new life into the world.
Similarly, Christ suffered for securing eternity for each one of us while we enjoyed freedom, new life and all the heavenly blessings.