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Labour of Love

Genesis tells us that when God made mankind He made them in His image and likeness. Male and female were very different, but complementary, and together reflected the nature and character of God. The logical implication is that what makes a woman a woman, and everything that God gave her the capacity to experience, has come from God. But, despite this logic, I always find prophetic verses that show that God understands how it feels to be in labour a little surprising. I’m sure Isaiah didn’t have first- hand experience of giving birth, but it seems that God does.

Through Isaiah, God explains how He will bring to birth His plans for mankind’s salvation. It’s clear it won’t be easy. It will take some hard work and determination, just as bringing a physical child into the world is much harder than growing the baby in the womb, something that seems to happen effortlessly. In the same way, God tells us that He’s been waiting and growing His purposes beforehand, but, now the moment has come for them to be fulfilled, the harder part’s about to begin. His ‘baby’, His plan and heart’s desire, is ready to be brought out into the world. It’s the gospel of salvation through His son Jesus which is going to be born.

Isaiah reports that God says He will cry out in pain at this birth. It’s the birth of the salvation plan, the birth of light and hope, but which is achieved only through Jesus’ death. Undoubtedly it will be excruciatingly painful for God to see His precious only Son reviled, tortured and crucified, so it will be a painful ‘birth’ of the gospel. If this barbaric act were to be carried out on someone whom we passionately love, it would surely make any of us gasp for breath, and the verse clearly states God will gasp.

This is like the pain of childbirth, which makes a woman gasp. Yet God says He’ll also ‘pant’. In a physical birth, the midwife often tells the woman to pant to slow the final stage of the delivery so the baby arrives safely into the world. Did God have to pant to slow the process of Jesus dying so the birth of the ‘gospel’ would have its full effect? What a thought!

Many of us have experienced receiving something from God’s heart which He’s called us to intercede for. It’s something we’re sure He’s planning to do, but there often seems to be a delay in seeing the fulfilment of His purposes. Maybe this is because what we’ve received is a spiritual ‘baby’, needing to be nurtured by prayer. However, one day, the time will come for it to arrive.

What God has purposed will come to pass, but He alone knows the timing of its birth. And, when that time comes, it may take a last extra spiritual push, or even some potentially painful exertion. Even then He may say “Don’t rush the process. Pant a little. Take a rest, and let me fulfil this birth safely, in My timing. If God speaks of labouring for His purposes to be fulfilled, perhaps we should expect that we too may be called upon to labour for His Kingdom plans.

Prayer: Father God, how can we ever thank You enough for sending Your Son Jesus to die for us. What pain You must have suffered seeing Him so rejected and cruelly treated. Yet, You laboured on through the grief and distress, sharing the pain, so You could bring to birth Your redemption plan for us all. We praise You that You give us the immense pleasure of calling us to share in Your Kingdom purposes on this earth. We pray we’ll heed Your timing for the realisation of those things that You’ve laid on our hearts. Thank You for Your totally overwhelming and incomprehensible love for us. Amen.
 

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Scripture

"For a long time I have held my peace; I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labour; I will gasp and pant."
Isaiah 42:14, ESV

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Today's Writer

Denise Cross is the Corporate Prayer Ministry Director for Ellel Ministries. She is married to David Cross and they have three grown up children and eight grandchildren. Denise was previously a Maths teacher and now delights to teach the Lord’s wonderfully logical truth. Her passion is to stir the hearts of passive believers to appropriate all the benefits of abundant life that our Heavenly Father freely offers to each of His children. Her book Rescue from Rejection has been appreciated by many people, in bringing clear answers to this challenging and widespread issue.

Denise Cross


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