Today’s Reading: John (NIV)
21 [Jesus said,] “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.”
How much suffering would you be willing to go through if you knew the end result would be new life? There is nothing more painful or exciting than the birth of a baby. Medical technology has greatly improved the labor and delivery experience for women as they physically labor to give birth. Even with epidural spinal blocks, Lamaze training, extra oxygen and free-flowing IVs, the birthing process is not a pain-free experience. New life always comes at a cost. Mothers do not forget the nine months of extreme fatigue before the act of childbirth, or the waves of nausea and dizziness that forced them to spend a great deal of time in their first trimester hugging the porcelain throne. They remember every stretch mark and itchy belly rash, and the way it felt when their baby moved in the womb for the first time. The pain quickly fades away as a mother sees her baby’s face and holds that little life in her arms and feels its first breath against her skin. Would you be willing to endure the pain if you knew the end result is a newborn life?
I saw it last night for the very first time as I walked past the Loft. A wet drizzle and thick blanket of moisture was suspended all around campus. It had rained all day and the sidewalk had become quite slippery. Leaves lined the path, and I averted my eyes toward the sidewalk, watching my step to keep from slipping on the pavement. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a light coming from the side of Butler Hall, and I glanced up quickly to see its source. What I saw made me stop on the sidewalk and do a double-take. The vision took my breath away for a moment, but this is one image that will stay with me forever. The light had cast a shadow along the wall of the building, and I could see the shape of the Shepherd’s staff, belonging to the One I love, leaning against the wall of Butler Hall. Upon closer inspection, I realized it was a water pipe firmly affixed to the side of the building. Yet, in that hazy glow, surrounded by the spotlight shining brightly in the night, there was no doubt in my mind that the new life being birthed in this building each week belongs to the Shepherd.
Affirmation often comes in quiet moments, just when we least expect it. I see new life happening at the Loft. Hearts are softened in the power of the Holy Spirit, and warmed as people experience the Gospel message each week. As students and instructors pass through Butler Hall everyday, I am convinced that a birthing process is happening there from within its walls. The coffeehouse ministry is not just a labor of love; it is the delivery room for a brand new life.
Next week, the Vine will host its first “open mike” night at JC’s Java, the Lindenwood Tuesday night coffeehouse. Come experience a fresh breath of new life that comes by knowing the Shepherd. Jesus suffered, died and rose again, to give us a brand new life in Him. There is no doubt the Shepherd is here - I saw His staff leaning against the wall.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC -
© Copyright 2008, Deb Spaulding
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