Breathe. Keep breathing.

I've never given birth. However, you don't need much imagination to get the idea of the pain a human body would feel trying to carry and the push out into the world what essentially feels like a block of flats with balconies.

Birth is often associated with the miracle of new life, it's a celebration. The memories of the pain gradually melt away in the face of a new born baby. The future begins full of relief and hope and joy and expectation.

In Mark 13, Jesus spends a lot more time in the labour room than the nursery. In this passage we don't get to embrace the new born, we are left still pushing through...

Breathe. Keep breathing.

This chapter expresses a lot of birthing pains, contractions going on in creation, at cosmic levels, in nature, in humanity. It doesn't take us very long to spot some of these pains so close to home in our society and culture they are knocking at the door and headlining our press right now. 

Jesus names things like deception and false teachers, wars and rumours of wars, nations being divided against nations, earth quakes and famines... the list goes on and this is what God incarnate describes as "...the beginning of birth pains."

I'd like to focus on the baby, the new life, the glory of God, the pain ended, the world made right, the Kingdom come and all things made new. But instead, Mark 13 invites us to breathe all the way through the ongoing contractions.

Breathe. Keep breathing.  

This bit of scripture doesn't offer us gas and air and pain forgotten with quick and glorious relief. It is a call to wait, to watch, to hold fast, to hold on to Jesus' words, the only thing that won't disappear when everything else crumbles and the labour pains make our society scream. 

Breathe. Keep breathing.

The Son of Man is with us and will come, but we are still in labour, we are still called to endure the birthing pains. Right the way through every vote that entices you to get disillusioned or apathetic. Right through every financial crash or spike that shakes your future. Right through every headline the shocks or scares your soul. Right through every contraction of our messed up blessed up world.

Breathe. Keep breathing. 

Miriam Swanson

Global Student Mission Leader

Miriam helps equip the church for student mission internationally. She's based in the USA and hungry to see young adults follow Jesus with all of who they are. 

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