Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Birth part 2

This post has been on my mind lately though it's been over a year and a half since I wrote it.

After sitting through (well, almost all the way through) the sermon, I still had no idea what our pastor was trying to say and when I wrote that post, my stomach was still in knots. The following fall, Chris led a small group and chose 1 Peter as the book we would delve into and discuss. Guess what is in this particular book?
Yes, birth. Again.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in Heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." 1 Peter 1: 3-5

I asked Chris what passage our pastor used for his sermon, and neither of us can remember, but it may very well be that he used this particular passage too. Chris said he turned 'off' just like I did when the word stillbirth came our of our pastor's mouth.

But I can say with great certainty that I now understand what our pastor was trying to say (and maybe everyone else in the church got the meaning right away, but for Chris and I, we had such a strong emotional and physical reaction to the symbolism that it was extremely hard to listen).

It clicked that Wednesday night at small group. I remember the feeling I had when I finally understood the infamous birth sermon. It was such sweet relief.

Chris asked us why it's so important to be born again and why that language is being used in 1 Peter. Now, I'm not usually a big talker during bible study discussions, believe it or not. I'm not a big talker in general, unless it's one on one or if I'm really comfortable with the group of people. But I couldn't not say anything. I don't remember the exact words I used, but I remember recounting how I felt when our pastor did the sermon on birth and stillbirth. Then the tears welled up in my eyes and I said (not verbatim) it's so important because though we don't see it or realize it, we're all stillborn. Spiritually speaking, we have been born into death and we need a re-birth, a live birth into life.

Stillbirth, in a spiritual sense, is just as heartbreaking (even more so) as the stillbirth we've experienced with our Owen. Birth into death is not how it's supposed to be. We were made to live, to be born living and breathing. Faith in Jesus gives us the spiritual re-birth that we all desperately need. And when we are born again, living and breathing, we have the great living hope of Jesus who was resurrected from the dead. God gives us salvation from this broken world through him.

We have such great hope.

And even stillbirth, a disgusting and vile abomination, can be used to point us to that great hope. Months and months later, I'm thankful to the Lord for the infamous sermon that caused so much hurt and sadness. I'm thankful for redemption.


Rachel said...

Wow, Ebe - that is SOOO powerful. I've never thought about it that way (us being stillborn - born into sin), what a great example and how deeply it hits home for those of us who know stillbirth in the literal sense. How we feel over our still babies is NOTHING compared to how God feels about his children living in sin. Thank you for sharing this and I may have to link to it!

paige said...

i know i don't know you irl, but my pastor used this *exact* reference two sundays ago & i cringed, remembering your original post... i actually leaned over to my daughter who was sitting next to me & whispered, "that is such a painful application for the mamas & daddies who have lost babies.." (she's 14 - & was listening so carefully). i was trying to listen too - to try to better understand his points...
You did an even better job than he did. You need a link in your sidebar to this post, it's huge...

Ebe said...

Thank you, Rachel and Paige.

Paige, you're so sweet. Thank you. Your daughter is very fortunate to have a sensitive and compassionate mom and I'm sure she is just as sensitive and compassionate.


Freya said...

Whoa, that is super helpful, I feel like you just hammered a loose nail into place in my mind. I have never realized or thought of that. I'm glad the Lord showed you the importance of this particular example & it wasn't just a painful memory of a sermon for forever. Thanks a lot, that's really given me some new perspective.