A different kind of birth (and “proof” of God)
A few weeks ago, I sort of got into it with a friend-of-a-friend on Facebook. I’m still not sure it was wise; I mostly got involved as a defense to my friend; it bothered me to see his Christianity under attack. I learned long ago, that one cannot debate anyone into the Kingdom of God.
John 6:44 (Amplified Version) “No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me…”
My encouragement to him was that if he wanted to see God, to know God, to have some understanding of God, to ask Him. He’s always willing to show Himself to those who seek Him.
Yesterday, my pastor was teaching from I Corinthians chapter 1. As he spoke, I perused the verses above where he was camped, drawn to this:
8 The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God. 19 As the Scriptures say,
20 So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish.
And here’s why I was so attracted by these verses: The friend-of-a-friend was searching for proof — undeniable, scientific, irrefutable, tangible proof — of God’s existence, and stated that he could not trust anything less reliable that that.
Strangely enough, I was thinking about this exchange while my mother was dying.
As she drew closer to death, the kindness, sweetness, and presence of God increased on her, and in her room. It was remarked upon, countless times, by hospital staff and visitors. It was not “scientific, irrefutable, tangible proof,” but to me, it was truly evidence of God being in her life, working through her, expressing Himself through the weakest, most vulnerable person imaginable.
It just seems to me that this is God’s way.
27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
It’s His way to express Himself through the powerless.
It’s also His way, I believe, having experienced it, to make lovely the very things that would seem to be the most tragic.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NLT) 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Romans 8:28 (NLT) 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
And this is incommunicable to those who require book-proof of God.
Another beautiful intangible I experienced during my mother’s last hours was this:
One of my favorite aspects of natural birth is the “community” aspect of it: During the most difficult hours of labor, everyone present is ultra-attentive to the birthing mother in a minute-by-minute way, in almost a prescience — alert to the point of foreknowledge to what the mother might need. The attention of everyone is fixed on her. Birth becomes an effort of not just the mother, but of those who love her; everyone does whatever they can to help the birth come about. Her preferences, her loves, her comfort becomes the shared goal of all present.
It was that exact same way with my mother.
We sang songs she had sung to us as children, as well as her favorite choruses from church. We reminisced. We took turns snuggling with her in her bed. She smiled contentedly, head tipped back, eyes closed, soaking it in…
And, as things became more difficult — labored — my mother wanted to sit up, with her legs over the side of her bed. Nevermind that this was virtually impossible, and nevermind that it wasn’t rational. Just like a natural birth, when a mother just feels like she needs to be in a certain position, all who assist her swing into action to accommodate. So it was with my mother, near the end of her life: One behind her, supporting her back. One on her side, arm surrounding her waist or shoulders, keeping her upright. At times, someone else in front of her, keeping her from slumping too far forward.
I had the thought, multiple times, “We’re birthing her into the Kingdom of God.”
My mom had been in the hospital for three weeks. At one point, several days earlier, I unexpectedly ran into an acquaintance in the halls, and glanced at his wrist., seeing a familiar, handwritten band. “Are you a new father??” I asked. He affirmed that he was, only an hour or so into the mind-bending experience.
I internally marveled at the circle of life, come to bear, right in front of me.
Perhaps that sounds cliche: “circle of life.” But at that moment, it was profound.
The day of my mother’s death, I was talking with a friend… She is a hospice volunteer, and mentioned how — on countless occasions — on one evening, she would spend time with the dying, and the next day, she would hear news of a brand-new birth. She has been struck, too, by the same notion of life coming full circle, and how right it seems.
And then, with some excitement, I shared with her — this friend who is not a mother — that sense I had had, comparing a natural birth to a spiritual birth, and how, though it was in many ways difficult, how full of God it was, how much it felt like that was His plan.
She completely understood.
I can’t express how important her understanding was to me. Just by her being completely on the same page, tracking right along with my thoughts and feelings, I felt like God was providing His love and comfort directly to my heart.
Yesterday, at church, she gave to me what might be the most unusual — yet apt — condolence card, ever. It was a wedding card, embellished and lovely. Inside, she had pasted her own sentiment: “Remembering our conversation… She’s with the Prince of Peace in her white gown; beautiful Jean. He sings a song only for her. She is free of pain and sings with Him her savior.”
Posted on October 22, 2012, in Christianity, Encouragement, Family, Friendships, Marriage, Medical Stuff, Motherhood, Relationship, Sad Things and tagged death, evidence of god, faith, presence of god. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.
This was so beautiful, Karen. Only a few words could express your inner most thoughts of the heart. God is so relevant in all we say, do, or experience! I am sure you have a renewed sense of intimacy with your heavenly Father because of this!
Thank-you for sharing your thoughts–expressed beautifully. I too have seen the similarity of birth and death (being born into heaven). I have been at the bedside of my son, mother-in-law and father as they passed from this life to the next. And I have had the joy of assisting my daughter during labor, being present for the birth of our grandchildren. Each of these times has been blessed by family community and the sense of God’s presence.
What a beautiful post. My heart goes out to you. You have been in my thoughts and prayers since I learned that your mother was dying. Last week, the mother of three kids that go to our youth group died, and I was sitting at her wake and funeral, thinking how in the presence of death and grief, I was so joyfully carrying new life, and even watching my belly jump every so often. Life is really such a mix of joy and grief, life and death.
Blessings from Argentina.
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