Friday, February 26, 2016
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It was hard to believe. Our daughter was pregnant. My wife was going to be a grandmother! And I was going to be...married to a grandmother! Our daughter and son-in-law had a lot of fun surprising both families with this wonderful news.
But for my daughter, that's where most of the fun stopped – at least for the first three months of her pregnancy. Some of you understand what I'm saying. She was in bed a lot for the first three months, and frankly she had some difficult morning sickness. The doctor assured her she was having a very healthy pregnancy, it was just that she didn't feel very healthy. But then something happened that really helped.
She called me in Mexico to tell me about it. I could tell right away she was glowing on the other end. She said, "Dad, I want you to hear something." After which she proceeded to play a tape of some rhythmic, whooshing sounds. And with an enthusiasm I hadn't heard for the past three months, she said, "Dad, that's the baby's heartbeat!" Well, that was worth a call to Mexico for sure! When I got home, my wife and I got to see the video version of our daughter hearing that heartbeat for the first time. And her face was absolutely radiant! Up to this point, she had experienced mostly the grief of pregnancy. Suddenly, she had this wonderful reminder of what or who it was all for!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Short Misery, Long Joy."
My daughter reminded us all of how God brings about most of the great things He does in our life. In fact, we should get the message from how our lives begin in the first place! That baby's heartbeat reminded us all of how our Father works; a difficult process that produces a beautiful result.
Our Word for today from the Word of God, John 16:20-22. The disciples were heading into a painful season, their spiritual collapse, and the death of Jesus which will make no sense to them. And then, after His resurrection, the One they've depended on will go back to heaven. There will be long, uncertain days in Jerusalem, waiting and praying for what God will do next. And Jesus prepares them – and us – for the difficult process by talking about a woman expecting and delivering a baby.
He says, "You will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve (Now here's where I think of the radiance I saw on my daughter's face as she heard the baby she was carrying.), but your grief will turn to joy." Of course, the sickness and the heartbeat were only a foretaste of the really difficult process and the really glorious result. "A woman giving birth to a child (Jesus said) has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born, she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy" (John 16:21, 22).
There it is. Difficult process – beautiful result. That's God's consistent pattern for producing new life. But like my daughter weathering the discomfort of pregnancy, it's easy to forget the beautiful result that's coming when all you can feel is the pain of the process. That may be where you are in the processes of God right now. And today God wanted you to hear there is a heartbeat, there is new life that will come out of this hard time.
So stay faithful and keep your eyes on the prize. Even if you can't see any prize, keep your eyes on the Prize-Giver. Sometimes it's tempting for a pregnant woman to take medications that would make her feel better but might damage the baby, the beautiful result. Maybe you've been tempted to relieve the pain with some choices that might make you feel better. Don't do it. You could ruin what God is doing.
If this is the painful part, don't let go of the hope God has for you. The hope that there's going to be a wonderful outcome produced by this difficult season, if you remain faithful through the pain. The pain will last a relatively short time. The joy will last a long time.
Listen for the heartbeat of God while you endure the grief of this process and let Him light up your soul with the joy of knowing this will be worth it all!