As I mentioned before, my women’s group started reading “Gospel in Life” by Timothy Keller. When beginning this study I never imagined that it would impact my perspective on birth. Well, God is full of surprises. Over time, He is helping me to accept birth as it is.
In this study, Keller emphasizes the importance of really grasping the Gospel. He says that until we can truly get it, we will continue to put other “idols” before God. Are you able to really grasp what Jesus did for us? If I’m honest, I have a really hard time wrapping my mind around it sometimes. Ok, I have a really hard time MOST of the time. Let me break down my thought process… Jesus was fully human AND fully God right? Ok, so if he was fully God, then dying isn’t really that big of a deal because he KNEW that he would go to Heaven and that it was all for a good purpose… right? That’s just me being honest.
So when we began talking about this in my group, I confessed to them that sometimes the crucifixion seems overrated to me. I explained my “logic” and my feelings of apathy. The problem with that logic is that it completely negates the fact that Jesus was also fully human. If you’ve ever seen the Passion of the Christ, you know that what Jesus endured was nothing short of humiliating gruesome torture. I hate admitting that it took a movie for me to connect with the crucifixion, but it did. Sort of. It did when I watched it and sometimes I can remember the feelings that overwhelmed me when I saw it. Usually, I don’t remember them at all.
Driving home from the study I thought more about my desire to connect with Jesus’ suffering. I realized that the problem is that I don’t really know suffering at all. I’ve never been publicly ridiculed and I’ve certainly never been tortured. Not to mention the injustice he was subjected to. Then, for some reason, my birth came to mind. Birth was filled with confusion and excruciating pain. I have felt a bitterness towards God because it seems unjust that birth is so hard. In that moment while reflecting on my birth, I was so humbled. Childbirth. Something that I had willfully brought upon myself. Something that ended in a beautiful new family. I was surrounded by people who did nothing but love and support me.
In contrast, Jesus was also willing to endure the crucifixion but not for his own benefit. Moments before his death he felt ultimate separation from God and took upon the sin of the world. He was surrounded by people who did nothing but torture and mock him. Yet, birth is the closest thing I have to understanding the suffering that Jesus endured.
This connection with Christ has made me more appreciative of my birth experience. I finally have something, albeit an imperfect comparison, that helps me to grasp the gospel. I appreciate the crucifixion on a meaningful, more personal level now. Perhaps more importantly, I am closer to understanding “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:17)
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