When I began my labor to give birth to Hannah, my second child, I confess that I panicked.
At the first pang, my mind went wild. Oh no! Wait a minute! I remember this! This is pain like no other. This is agony. This is hours ahead of loss of control and body-ripping pain! What was I thinking? I can’t do this! I change my mind.
Of course, the only way through that was through it and when I held her in my arms, she was worth every moment.
Jesus is God but He was also a man.
On the night he was betrayed, he spent hours on his knees anticipating the pain that was to come and pleading with his father to find another way.
What lay ahead of him was betrayal. Humiliation and rejection in front of everyone he knew and loved. Abandonment by those closest to Him. Seeing the confusion and disappointment on the faces of His followers. Watching His mother’s face as she watched her first born die.
There would be a terrible beating followed by the agony of crucifixion.
I know that if someone had said to me at the start of my labor that I didn’t have to go through it, I would have backed out. The only way to reach my child was through that pain and yet, the only reason I faced it was because there was no other way.
Jesus was a man facing bitter, painful hours of labor for our salvation. He asked His Father for another way but His Father said this was the only course.
So Jesus obeyed Him. He willingly endured the pain and shame of the cross.
And gave birth to new life for any of us who turn to the cross and acknowledge that our sin put Him there. For any of us, who claim His sacrifice as covering for our own sin. For any of us, who agree to follow Him, trusting Him with our lives, offering Him our obedience even through dark, painful roads.
Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
Nothing was taken from Him that He did not lay down. Like a mother bear fighting for her cubs, He volunteered for battle and conquered in the end.
We are embarking on the week of remembrance. What it cost for us to bask in forgiveness and grace.
The days of my greatest pain are also the days of my two children’s births, the days they first breathed the air of life. So, too, the day of Jesus’ greatest pain was the day of our birth, the day we were finally free to inhale the freedom of eternity.
Have you taken your first breath?
— Lori Roeleveld (@lorisroeleveld) April 7, 2017