For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. Mark 13:8
The disciples want to know what to look for to recognize when the end is near. When we feel weary, we too want to know when it will all end. When will Jesus return? When will He make all things right as He promised? When will sin, and pain, and envy, and our repeated mistakes, and suffering, and death be defeated once and for all?
Jesus tells the disciples that the signs to come before the day of His return will be horrible…nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, earthquakes, famines. And if that isn’t bad enough, He says they are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Pain has a purpose. Progress comes from pain. Pain indicates something is wrong. Pain makes us take a hard look and to try to change something; to fix it. Pain makes us stop, limiting what we can do; forcing us to slow down. Pain is humbling.
Jesus relates the pain to come as birth pains. Pains that increase and intensify, but ultimately produce something new and something beautiful on the other side of it.
Though we groan now under the weight of sin, a time will come when all things that went wrong when sin entered the world, when the pains of childbirth began, will be made right again.
C.S. Lewis says, “If you find yourself with a desire that no experience in this world can satisfy, then the most probable explanation is that you were made for another world.” Indeed, we were made for another world. A world free of sin and suffering. A world in intimate communion and community with God. Until that time, we groan with the sustaining and increasing pains of childbirth. And when that time comes when the birth pains subside, and new life emerges, the pain will long be forgotten. It will again be good. Very good.
Question: How can a painful experience usher in something good?