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Pain and Blessing of Motherhood
GOD’S PLAN FOR THE FAMILY
Terry R. Baughman
“A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world” (John 16:21 NIV).
The pain of childbirth is intense. The process of giving birth is called labor for a reason. Contractions usually begin slowly, sometimes several days before the delivery, as the body begins to prepare for this miraculous event. Nervous parents begin timing the frequency of the contractions knowing that the closer together they occur signals the long awaited arrival of the newborn. With the increased timing of contractions there is also growing intensity of the pain.
Some mothers welcome the administration of pain medications while others are determined to endure the suffering so as to avoid a longer recovery period. Though no one looks forward to suffering, the anticipation of the newborn child makes the pain bearable and creates an eager expectation in the process. Looking beyond the severity of suffering there is the bright hope to hear the cry of new life. Most feel that the pain of the present is worth the reward in the future.
The pain of giving birth results from the original sin in the Garden of Eden. Because of their disobedience to God certain consequences continue to be experienced in life. Part of the curse of sin was appropriated to the woman, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children” (Genesis 3:16 NIV). Some of the rivalry between the sexes is also a result of the curse. God further told Eve, “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
Adam was also suffered for his disobedience to God, “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. …By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food” (Genesis 3:17, 19 NIV). Because of original sin there is pain in producing food and bearing children … but through suffering comes blessing. There is abundant harvest received as the fruit of our labor, children as a result of birth, and the satisfaction of future fulfillment in a life well lived.
In the Psalms, the writer observed the balance of pain and reward, weeping and rejoicing. They sang, “Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). The joy of reward comes after the sorrow of labor, “He who continually goes forth weeping, Bearing seed for sowing, Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, Bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:6).
Perhaps the greatest illustration of these principles are found in motherhood. Mothers stand as the greatest example of sacrifice and suffering, and are revered for their joyful service, giving life for generations to come. Honor is appropriate for every mom or mentor who have sacrificed for our benefit. The accomplishments of our lives and the successes we attain are attributed to those who have given us birth and those who have granted guidance in our development. The rewards we achieve are attributed to the sacrifices of those who have loved us from the beginning. Our lives in Christ are a tribute to our mentors. John said, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4 NIV).
“[Cornelius] … and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2 NIV).