I have been thinking about Mary. How the birth of Christ was the fulfillment of the promise of redemption for all mankind and yet it was also another fulfillment of the disciplining of Eve: “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children” (Gen. 3:16a ESV). The birth of Christ was like every other birth in the history of the world. It was dirty, bloody, and full of pain. But in that moment was birthed hope for all. Mary’s pain enabled the rescue of mankind.
These thoughts have brought to mind my friend Matt Chandler, his family, and our friends at the Village Church. If you don’t know yet, Matt has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, has had surgery to remove most of it, and is approaching his first round of chemo/radiation. Matt is one of the most powerful preachers I know. His family is a loving example of Christ in their world. And the church is one of the strongest churches around. And yet, they are going through great pain. Every person there is suffering through this time, especially Matt and his family. Even those of us connected from afar are aching alongside them.
Looking at the story of Mary, I begin to wonder what glory God has planned to be birthed through their suffering. How does He plan to glorify Himself through their story? Because He does. And as much as my heart aches for them, I can’t help but get excited about what God might be birthing through this. What will begin this Christmas because of their pain? May I be willing to walk the path that births the most glory for Christ in this world.
7 thoughts on “Thoughts On The Birth”
This is a hard one Todd. Oh, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.
I pray for you friend and his family. This has to be so terribly difficult, even for those who trust in God. May His peace fill their hearts, and may His joy abound in their lives.
It’s so clear that the best things God does in and through us are often born in pain, and yet I do everything I can to avoid pain, at least most of the time. There are things I hold back, things I’m hesitant to give Him, because I know they hold the potential to cause great pain. Apparently, I don’t trust Him enough, and yet, He’s been nothing but trustworthy to me. May 2010 be the year I learn to trust Him fully.
Many blessings dear friend, and thanks for doing what you do.
that is right on the money. God ALWAYS births something new and great out of the pain we go through. at least that’s what His plan is. whether or not He is able to do so depends on us FULLY trusting in and relying upon Him, even in our times of GREAT pain and agony. i like to think of the way Jesus didn’t lose His faith in His Father when He was hanging on the cross, bearing all of our sins, and His Father couldn’t look upon Him because of all the sins He carried. how can we EVER look at God and say “WHY GOD?” when we are going through our own pains and agonies, considering ALL that Jesus bore for us, considering God HAD to turn away from Jesus because of all the sins He carried on the cross and put to death on the cross? we ALWAYS have to go back to Jesus when we are going through our own pains and agonies and remember: Jesus bore FAR worse things than we EVER will.
Here’s a quote from Ken Gire (“Moments with the Savior”) which I really like regarding suffering: “Help me see that the hard mercies of adversity are not stones thrown to hurt me but stones that serve to get my attention–to tap on the window of my comfortable estate and remind me that this is not my home. Grant me the grace to take those hard mercies, no matter how sharp or how heavy, and use them to pave a road to You. Help me to see that those same stones form the wide road over which your tender mercies make their way to me. Tear off the blinders that fix my eyes only on my narrow, little path of pain. Lift my head to see the hard roads others have to travel.” And I would add to this . . . Help me not only to lift my head and see the need, but to reach out my hands and my home to offer help and comfort to those around me.
The speaker at our church yesterday spoke about pain and how God uses it. This man knows a lot more about pain than I do (he and his wife lost their three sons in a flood in 1972) and to hear him speak on this was meaningful. He reminded us that God never wastes the pain, and tears, of his children.
Todd, I have been out of the loop for a bit, and just learned through your video you are now a married man! What a great blessing. I met you a few years ago when I promoted a show here in Chillicothe with you, and Big Daddy Weave. Later I ran into you in Nashville at a convention. God has used your music to bless me over and over. As I mature as a woman made new in Him, I realize how small I am and how big God is. I see this thread woven into your music, and reflected by your walk. Early-on I was so awestruck by meeting you, not because of who you are, but because of what God has done through you. I know you do not want to take any glory for your talents, and I’m sorry I didn’t honor that with my actions. I am humbled by your grace to others. Blessings to you and yours!
Wow, I’ve not really heard that before. The first Sunday of Advent at our church I spoke on Jesus as the seed of the woman (women don’t have seed, but Matt 1:16 in it’s context is an unmistakeable reference to Gen 3:15. I wonder if Luke 2:34-35 is related to God’s declaration at the fall? That would make Mary’s whole life a huge example of submitted self-denial for the sake of serving the Lord – “behold, I am the Lord’s servant: let it be to me according to His Word”.
“May I be willing to walk the path that births the most glory for Christ in this world.” Amen, Todd. Mary’s willingness, trust, and hope that her pains from birth will fullfill God’s promises, and bring Him glory, is a great example to us. My desire is to also be as she was, hopeful, even thankful, through the pains I encounter in this world. I think I need more discipline to train my mind and heart to continually praise God through tears, yet as I have been attempting to, I am learning to trust God’s goodness, His closeness, and His ability to bring all situations together for good. I pray God gives your friend Matt an even greater revelation of His presence, and that He heals him completely from the cancer. God is the greatest doctor, and He can cure people from all diseases. I pray for supernatural peace for Matt and his family, in Jesus name.