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.”
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.