Red faced, sweating, bleeding, screaming at times...
Deeply painful, sheer hard work for hours...
My wife giving birth to my son was like nothing I have seen before.
There was a moment in the middle of the labour when Chloe looked absolutely exhausted. She looked like she was spent but nowhere near finished. I remember one look in which I think we both wondered if she we be able to do it. Then another contraction came and we were off again.
Chloe nearly fainted twice in the pool. I have never seen anyone give so much and then have to give more.
Friends of ours have had far more complex and difficult experiences. Our birth was relatively 'straightforward' but touched me at a level that has not been touched before. I really love my wife and to see her go through all that was not easy. By the end I was exhausted!
She made it. Pain turned to joy beyond words. What a prize to hold the little man and be with my wife as a new family. A genuinely amazing gift.
Why is childbirth so hard?
Genesis 3 records God's response to our rebellion against him by cursing childbearing. The pain of the childbirth surely then speaks something of the reality and seriousness of our rebellion against God. It is real. It is serious and He takes it seriously.
How does this give me faith?
Paul writes in Romans 8 how creation is, "groaning together in the pains of childbirth." One day to be set free in the revelation of what God has done for his children. This world promises to bring a bag of suffering. I guess on the road ahead I will look at my wife and wonder if we will ever make it. But one day in all creation, pain will turn to joy beyond words.
Paul writes, "not only the creation, but we ourselves... groan inwardly as we wait..." I find that God continues to call me to repentance and face my own sin. I find this painful. I groan. But I know where I am going. I know what this is producing. I will keep going.