When we focus on the pain instead of the joy ahead

When the contractions came, I didn’t recognize them. I thought my back hurt from the weight of carrying 36-week twins. When the pains became more regular and only minutes apart, I changed my mind.

“Bring her into the hospital,” a nurse announced casually when my husband called concerned. Maybe we should have mentioned two babies were on the way, and my obstetrician had said: “when they come, it will be quick.”

Whatever is happening in our world, we are not to be frightened. Don’t linger on the pain, long for the joy ahead. Stand strong knowing everything is as Jesus told us.

With no gas in the car, my husband considered calling 911. He didn’t tell me this at the time. Unable to sit down, I crouched on my knees on the front seat as we tore up the highway. In between the increasingly closer stabs of pain, I yelled: “We’re not going to make it.” Forget any calming breathing technique; I was in full panic mode.

Jesus said not to be alarmed when birth pains come. He wasn’t talking about having a baby, of course, but the promise of his return to earth.

He stood on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, and gave this advice to his closest followers.

Their world was about to be shaken up in a big way. In a few days he would be treated like a criminal, beaten up, tortured, and sentenced to a cruel death.

But more than that, he talked about wars and rumors or wars, famines and earthquakes and the persecutions they would endure.

Jesus told them not to be distressed when these things took place. These signs, just like the indications of giving birth to twins, would be good because it meant better things were on the way.

I’ve stood on the Mount of Olives, opposite Jerusalem, where Jesus spoke these words. In that area of the world you are not far from wars, friction between nations and fear of conflicts.

I also discovered Jerusalem sits on a fault line and often experiences earth tremors.

All of these events can be disturbing and troubling, especially when they are closer to home. It’s easy to dwell on them and see them looming large in front of us.

Yet, Jesus says this should not be our focus.

We should stand firm and strong, just like the staff when I arrived at the hospital. They were calm and professional.

Thirty minutes after arriving the team of doctors and nurses delivered two beautiful baby boys by emergency C-section.

Whatever is happening in our world, we are not to be frightened.

Don’t linger on the pain, long for the joy ahead. Stand strong knowing everything is as Jesus told us.

Better days are on their way.


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14 thoughts on “When we focus on the pain instead of the joy ahead”

  1. Right now I’m teaching out of I Peter and loving the reminder that I am a sojourner — it keeps me from thinking I should be too comfortable in this world. Thanks for this beautiful metaphor for the birth pangs we experience throughout our spiritual journey!

    1. Sometimes it’s hard not to get comfortable, isn’t it?

  2. Cheri Carlson says:

    Wonderful metafore Rachel, especially in these days of so much uncertainty! It’s such a prime time to minister as so many folks are feeling these unstable days.

    1. Cheri, yes you are right, it is a good time to minister and bring God’s love into people’s lives. Hope you are doing well. Miss you.

  3. Rebecca L Jones says:

    I have been praying for a baby that was suppose to be a preemie & 4lbs. He arrived last week only 2 weeks early and 7lbs. God id good so this baby ill be fine too.

    1. What a wonderful answer to prayer, Rebecca.

  4. Jill says:

    Thanks Rachel-Love the joy reference as that’s my word this year but also the reference to Jesus’ calming words and demeanor. I’m typically more like you about to give birth to twins, I needed this reminder of being confident and calm in Jesus!

    1. What a fabulous word for the year, Jill.

  5. Misty says:

    Rachel, I love the analogies you used in this post! When I read this I thought of Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” We indeed have joy before us! Happy to link up with today on Grace & Truth! Blessings, Misty

    1. Thanks for reminding us of that verse, Misty. It’s a great fit with what I wrote.

  6. I love this, Rachel! It is interesting how at first you didn’t realize that you were having contractions. Sadly, so many people today do not recognize the fact that we are experiencing signs and birth pains within our world. But thank you for reminding us that we as God’s people have nothing to fear. Praise God that we don’t have to linger on the pain, but can look forward to a brighter future to come!

    1. Thanks Christin. Yes, we need to keep reminding each other we have nothing to fear.

  7. Aimee Imbeau says:

    This post was a comforting reminder of His goodness, Rachel. I am so glad that in times of difficulty and heaviness of heart, we can look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith – BUT also to our sisters in Christ. Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth. I have decided to feature your post this week. Stop by to get the “I was featured” button.

    1. Thanks, Aimee. I’m delighted to be featured on Grace and Truth. Thank you for all your work.

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