Labor is Brief, Joy is Forever [Day 24: BRIEF]

Waiting for a Baby

I am glued to my phone right now waiting on news about my new nephew being born in Japan. These last few weeks seem to be ticking by as we await the arrival of this new bundle of joy. Though I won’t get to see him until he is significantly grown, I am anxious to get to see what he looks like and be assured he is healthy through FaceTime chats and Facebook messenger. And I’m just his Aunt — Imagine how his mother must feel!

In some ways, the nearly 4 years since I had my last baby feels like a lifetime ago. So much has happened since then in our life and ministry. I mean, I’ve learned a language and set up a life on the other side of the world. Not to mention that that baby is in pre-school now and breaking my heart with how grown up he is getting. When I pause to think, however, I remember what that feels like to wait for a baby. There is fear mixed with wonder, joy mingled with anxiety. There is dread about the coming day and dreams about the future. When labor begins, there is pain and a narrowed focus. It’s time to get serious about bringing this baby into the world.

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Waiting for Eternity

The Scriptures compare this temporal life to childbirth (Romans 8:22). We are waiting with mixed feelings of fear and wonder, joy and anxiety. There is sometimes dread about the days we have to endure on this earth, but we certainly have much to dream about. Even the awe-inspiring plump-red cheeks of a newborn baby is nothing in comparison to what awaits us in glory. What a thought!

Just as birth entails pain and requires a narrowed focus, so do our lives waiting for Jesus to return. There is immeasurable hardship because of sin’s stain on the world. We will have to endure what feels like a never-ending slew of suffering, but we do not carry these griefs as those who have no hope. We know that our ultimate treasure and our hope is other-wordly. We must narrow our focus with eternity in mind. Laboring in the here and now, we rejoice in the abundant blessings that are to come. We endure the pain of today with the promise of endless, joy-filled tomorrows spent in the presence of God.

In the end, it’s all worth it.

There will be times where the labor feels light and what is required of us is little. Other times, the groaning will be great and we get by only by the strength of God. Sometimes, we will forget about the glory that is coming and only suffer with gritted teeth and white knuckled perseverance because faithfulness means something even when we forget what.

There’s so much good coming, friends. Though we have pain in the here and now, God brings blessings here too. The laboring is painful and intense, but we have respites by His grace. In the end, when we are looking back from glory on what life and labor once was, it will seem distant. It will seem brief — just a blip on the radar on the way to eternity.

All our troubles of that time will be long forgotten. Just like my sister-in-law’s will be when she holds her newborn sometime in the next few days. If you need me until then, I’ll have my face in my phone.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18

I “make” God big in my life when I set my focus on my eternal future as I labor for Him in the here and now. 

What helps you keep your focus on eternity?

Talk to me in the comment section below.

My Hope is in You, Lord [DAY 7: HOPE]

Our interns returned to America this past Wednesday. During their last service at our church, they had the opportunity to choose one last song to sing. They chose “My hope is in You, Lord” — in Nepali, of course. I tried not to make eye contact with my friend, and I noticed she looked tearful too. It was a sweet way to end their stay here, each of us proclaiming that our only true, lasting hope is in the Lord.

What a necessary reminder, too, it was to me personally — especially as we sent two of our friends back to America. My hope is not in having friends around to share our life with. It should not be in our team growing or our ministry taking off. It can’t be in my kids following the path I’d choose for them or my marriage standing on solid rock for the rest of our days together. In marriage, motherhood, and missional living, Jesus is the only thing I can confidently put my hope in.

Photo by Kelly Rockhold Photography

The people in our ministry and those that hold the ropes back home may let us down. Our marriage may fall on hard times. Our kids will stray from what we have taught them… AND people come to stay a while and then have to go back where they came from! If I put my hope in these things, I can only be sure of one — the fall will be that much harder.

Putting my hope in Christ, I rest in the promise that no matter what happens He is with me and will sustain me. When people or circumstances leave me reeling, I have a constant source of comfort and strength in the Lord. Because of all He has done and all I can trust Him to do, my hope is secure.

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:5-8

In Christ, my hope will never be misplaced.

I “make” God big in my life when I choose to put my hope in Him alone rather than in my circumstances or my relationships. 

What earthly things have you placed your hope in?

Talk to me in the comment section below!