I am very pregnant and, though not overdue, quite ready for our newest family addition to arrive. To be most honest, I’m past ready, and have been struggling with impatience. My first son came so suddenly that I’ve had an expectation that this one might come early too (he’s already later than his brother), and I’ve been maybe a bit too zealous in watching for signs of impending labor and hindering life-as-normal just in case the baby may arrive any moment.
Even with my first baby I did have signs of labor: my water broke, contractions started and got more intense, and there were a couple other things for the TMI category. My labor was just over two hours and very sudden, but it was still labor. I keep hearing crazy stories, though, about babies coming suddenly in the bathtub or the toilet, or obese women who don’t know they’re pregnant until the baby comes suddenly in their pants—it’s distractions like this that have made me consider the possibility that baby two could come without warning as I’m driving or shopping or in any other very embarrassing and inconvenient way. And when I’m so intense in thinking that labor could begin any minute, it hinders my daily life; after all, I wouldn’t want to go somewhere I wouldn’t feel comfortable delivering. 😛
The Christians in Thessalonica made a similar mistake. They had been doing a great job persevering in their faith despite various hardships (Paul gives them many positive affirmations in 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians), but then Paul gives them a couple telling warnings:
- don’t assume Jesus is coming any minute because He will not come until the apostasy and the antichrist come first (2 Thess 2:1-12)
- keep working so you can afford to eat; it’s not good to be a burden to other people (2 Thess 3:6-13)
It seems that these Christians in their zeal had misunderstood the spiritual season of their time and put life on hold—quitting their jobs and living off of others—because of their certainty that the Lord would come at any time. Their behavior is almost enduring and goes hand in hand with a long list of praise and encouragement from Paul regarding their faithfulness toward God, and yet they were deceived by their assumptions and made a couple bad choices.
It’s been my mission the past couple days to relax and think less about my upcoming labor. I want to be alert—and I’m so excited for this moment that it is impossible for me not to be—and yet I do not want to be paranoid over every possible symptom or so expectant that I put my normal life on hold. It is an interesting balance to anticipate an event with zeal without going overboard. Paul admonished the Thessalonians to keep living and doing the good things they know to do (2 Thess 2:15, 1 Thess 5:11-28), and I’ve been praying that I’ll be able to relax and enjoy these last pre-baby days as well.