I was born in Bolivia but arrived there before my dad. Mom and Dad had heard the call to missionary service. They first believed they would be going to China, so Dad was studying Chinese at the U of M. It was the 1950’s, and the doors to China closed with the Maoist revolution. God next led them to Bolivia, and the time came in their lives to obey the decision to go. During that same time, they wanted to start a family. Mom thought she was pregnant; but her “States-side” doctor suggested the thought was only that, her imagination. Since he had confirmed she was not after all pregnant, Mom and Dad decided it was indeed time to make the transition to the mission field. It was the middle of 1957. Mom flew directly to Bolivia where she took on the job of teaching the children of other WMPL missionaries at the mission school. Dad flew to Costa Rica for nine months of language school. I was born in January 1958. Two months later, after finishing his nine month language course, Dad arrived in Bolivia. I was two months old when I first met my dad.
Mom and Dad went on to have four more children, all of us born in Bolivia. 25 years later I coached my late wife though her first delivery, a daughter; and six years after that, I stood by her side as she delivered our son.
I don’t suppose any of these experiences qualify me to talk about childbirth. While the process was easy for my mom, it was not so easy for my wife. Like many women, or so I have heard, while in the pangs she vowed “never again.” But with time, the pains of childbirth faded and the desires of motherhood took their place the pain replaced by the joy of birth and new life.
This life if filled with hard times and suffering, but we have a promise. Paul, a man well acquainted with suffering, told the Christians at Rome that he considered “that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” He wrote that even nature was suffering as a woman in the pains of childbirth waiting for Christ’s return and revelation of His glory. Like a woman whose perspective on childbirth changes once she holds her newborn babe so we who belong to Christ, and creation itself, have something better than can be imagined for which to look forward.
That day will come, but while we wait for it to come God’s Holy Spirit fills those who are His and even intercedes for us according to God’s will for us.