I have a friend who is “heavily pregnant”; like, just-a-few-weeks-to-go-and-difficulty-bending-over pregnant. If I were her, I’d be a moany git.
But you see, the last time this friend was pregnant, she didn’t make it this far – nowhere near this far. So now that she is this far and on the verge of a waddle, there’s little chance you’ll hear her complain. She knows what its all for. Every cm that belly grows, every elbow in the rib, every hiccup that baby makes, she knows all about it and wouldn’t have it otherwise. Because all these are signs of life and the life to come.
Just because she exercises restraint in voicing her discomfort, her body does not. She knows and hears very well the ‘complaint’ of the extra weight her body bears because that’s how this new birth thing works. Just because there are no words, does not mean there are no groanings.
Just because my body has not yet known this mystery, nor your’s perhaps able to, does not mean we do not know those pangs.
That thing you hope for – the job, the relationship, the home – but which seems so far away; that unnameable ache you feel for the elusive “more”; that swelling, prodding, hiccup which sometimes seems to walk a tightrope between joy and despair… don’t wish it away. It is a prayer. Hold it gently, but firmly, because it is a sign of life and the life to come.
All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Romans 8:22-28 (The Message)