- Rick LoPresti
It is not a new revelation that when a woman gives birth, she goes through much pain. This can be traced back to Genesis 3:16 wherein God told Eve after she sinned, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children..." In this and 498 other places in the Bible a woman's labor pains are called by the Hebrew word translated travail in some places in the Old Testament (Gen 28:37, Ps 48:6, Is 13:8, Is 21:3, Jer 6:24, Jer 13:21, Jer 22:23, Jer 30:6, Jer 31:8, Jer 49:24, Mic 4:9, Mic 5:3). The same is true of the Greek in the New Testament (Jn 16:21, Gal 4:19, 1Thes 5:3). These pains are also called sorrows in Genesis 3:16 (Is 13:8, Jer 13:21, Jer 49:24, Hos 13:13), and pangs (Is 13:8, Is 21:3, Is 26:17, Jer 22:23, Jer 48:41, Jer 49:22, Jer 50:43, Mic 4:9). God did not tell Eve she was going to have pain in childbirth to be mean or judgmental. Everything God pronounced in the garden to Adam and Eve was to guide them to their need of Him. It was to bring them back to Him. It was to deal with man in such a way that so that He could someday arrange a return to the tree of life (Rev 22:1-2). Jesus purchased this opportunity with the travail He endured for us (Is 53:3-4).
When the disciples gave Jesus a tour of the temple in Jerusalem, He told them that place would be destroyed (Mt 24). They asked Him to tell them when this would happen, and what sign would indicate His coming and the end of the world. He listed deception, wars, famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes. Then He said, "All these are the beginning of sorrows (vs 8)." The word sorrows there literally means birth pains. Jesus was telling them that all those bad things were not showing God's intent to destroy the world and mankind. They showed that something was about to be born. Shortly before Jesus was arrested, brutally tortured, and heinously murdered, He celebrated the passover with His disciples. He told them this was going to happen. He told them He would be going away. He described what the disciples would go through like this: "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world (Jn 16:21)." He continued, "And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." The disciples would have to face some temporary sorrow, but joy was on the other side of it.
When Adam and Eve sinned, they not only brought themselves pain, sorrow, and death, they brought it upon the whole creation (Rom 5:12-21). Now the whole creation is hoping to be delivered from the consequences of sin (Rom 8:19-23). It groans and travails in pain until Christ returns. Christians also groan, looking for their final redemption. The church and the earth are going through birth pains. These pains are not the judgment of God. They are the necessary indicators that a new birth is about to take place. Jesus will soon return to make all things new as birth is given to a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 22).
Right now the east coast of the United States is being baptized with water from hurricanes. The west coast is burning with fire. Water and fire are symbols of the new birth Jesus spoke of in John 3:3-5 (Mt 3:11, Acts 1:5, Acts 2:1-4 & 38, Acts 8:12-17, Acts 10:43-48, Acts 19:1-7, 1Cor 10:1-4). This new birth involves being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost with the initial outward evidence of speaking with tongues. Could it be that that natural water and fire are a message from God of a spiritual new birth about to hit America from coast to coast? These natural disasters may be the birth pains of a great outpouring and harvest of souls.
Our individual lives also go through pain and sorrow. Instead of looking at them as the anger of God, we should pray that the Lord helps us see the greater purpose of what He is trying to help us give birth to spiritually. God does not waste anything, even our suffering. He knows how to bring great joy out of sorrow. "For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning (Ps 30:5)." "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him (Ps 126:5-6)." "Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away (Is 51:11)." "Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow (Jer 31:13)."