John 16:21-22, “When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. So also, you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
This is a difficult text to have significant meaning today—at least meaning that is comforting. Today’s culture does not often view pregnancy as a blessing—as creating a blessed life. Today, pregnancy is an inconvenience, like a disease the woman has contracted from sex. Whether the woman is not ready for a child, or does not desire a child, the “only choice” preached to her from the political Left is to kill the infant. Yet it is not murder, they say, since it is only a “bundle of cells.” She has “no choice,” they say. No choice is no decision at all; it is merely coercion, yet they play it off as the autonomous choice of the mother. Nothing angers me more in this world than killing a defenceless infant in the womb.
When left to its natural processes, the zygote in the womb will become a human being; it cannot become anything else but a human person. Before the Devil cunningly found his way to murder infants in the womb, pregnancy was a cause for celebration in our culture. When mothers are not given into Satan’s lies and give birth to the baby, in the moment of her child labour pains she has sorrow, because it is painful, thanks to the curse of the Fall (Genesis 3:16). Yet as soon as the baby is delivered, joy is upon her face, for she has brought a beautiful, little person into this broken world.
This, of course, is an analogy Jesus uses with His disciples for His imminent departure and eventual return. Prior to this, Jesus had told His disciples He would soon be leaving, and they were not happy with this (vv. 16-20). I can’t blame them. Jesus is not among us today, at least physically. He is with us in the Spirit, as well as the proclamation of His Word and the administration of the sacraments He instituted for us. Yet we have Him only in part, not in full. We know this, hence our prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus.” We desire His presence even more in such evil situations as the murdering of infants.
These times are like the moment of child labour—it is painful, uncomfortable, and we want it to end. Do not fret. Jesus’ return will be like the moment of childbirth—when all pain ceases and the look upon our faces as Jesus descends from the clouds will look like the joyous look on the mother’s face when she gazes upon the face of her beautiful baby.