The Second Coming, Childbirth, and the Mistake of Putting Life on Hold


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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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.


The Positive Side of Illness, Fatigue, and Physical Pain


I wrote this over a month ago in the midst of a physically trying moment and didn’t have the energy to edit it into a post.  I’m now 21 weeks pregnant, and have been feeling much better: nausea only in the evenings, less fatigue, and the comfort of feeling our little one move and remembering why I’m doing this.

This is what I wrote ten weeks ago:

I’ve pretty much been sick all eleven weeks of my pregnancy, minus a few great days here and there.  I’ve had the flu; I’ve had a long-lasting cough that threatened premature contractions; and the normal pregnancy symptoms (nausea, headaches, fatigue) have been enough to deal with on their own.

But while my tolerances have been stretched, this has also been an excellent opportunity for me to see my spiritual weaknesses and to fully depend on the Lord.

There is nothing like having the areas we most depend on ripped out from under us.  I’ve always been physically pretty healthy, and didn’t realize how much I’d pulled comfort and strength from my place of good health.  Having almost constant pain lately has been quite humbling.  I’ve also become aware of other areas in my spirit that need spiritual transformation, which likely would have gone unnoticed without this ‘forced fasting’.

For the first time, I think I’m understanding the spiritual directive to have joy within suffering–to count it my blessing when I experience trials (James 1:2-4, 2 Cor 12:7-10, Phil 4:11).  I’m not sure there’s a way to articulate this concept, but it is certainly a blessing to experience such a joy.  I have especially have fond memories of spending hours vomiting with intermittent praises to the Lord, and though I also don’t want that pain again anytime soon, it’s really quite amazing that I’d even think in such a way.

To my friends who are also facing physical trials: I want to encourage you not to pray immediately for healing or a ‘fixed’ circumstance, but to first press into the raw love of the Lord.  I have frequently been blessed with sudden immediate healing from the Lord upon praying–there is definitely a place for this and it can increase our faith in a miracle working God.  But let the Spirit lead you to pray before you assume you know what’s best.  I have occasionally been lead to pray for other things: for endurance and strength to face the trial, for the physical manifestation of the Lord’s love and peace, for wisdom and revelation of who He is, for heart, soul and spirit to be transformed into His nature, for the ability to rest in Him despite the circumstance, and so forth.  Sometimes the answers to heart issues are much more rewarding than the healing of the physical issues.

I pray we would not miss out on any of the Lord’s gifts, even when they come in painful packages.  There is a time and a season for everything under heaven (Eccl 3).