Today I realized something for the first time.
Roughly nine months after abortion-on-demand became the law in America, in the autumn of 1973, I was born for the second time.
During those months when many women were embracing their new-found reproductive freedom, God was forming me in the womb of faith, preparing me to become His child.
I could say a lot more about what happened that day, when my sixteen-year-old self first felt the irresistible urgency — unseen forces from without and within pressing me toward my emergence from the dark womb of spiritual sleep into the dazzling radiance of faith.
But the one thought that demands my profound awe in this moment is simply this: God is a redeemer.
Always, in every place and at every time, God is making all things new.
A few years later, when I was in my early twenties, I was reading Malachi 4 and was inspired to write a song. This morning, when George read the same passage, he reminded me of it and said we should revive it. Maybe so. But meanwhile, I can share the words with you here.
The Day is Coming
The day is coming, burning like a furnace,
And all the wicked will be chaff.
The day is coming when the righteous will rejoice
And leap from the stall like a calf.
The day is coming when the Sun of Righteousness
Will rise with healing in His wings.
And all the holy ones will be before Him
And crown Him King of kings,
Come, Lord Jesus; come, Lord Jesus,
The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.”
Come and bring us the day of our deliverance
When we will be revealed as sons.
For creation is anxiously longing,
And we ourselves grown within.
But the day is coming, the end of our suffering
Because we’ll be found in Him.
Romans 8 says God subjected the creation to futility on purpose — that all this groaning we see, hear, and feel is the pains of childbirth, meant to assure us that deliverance will indeed come.
I had the holy and awesome privilege of watching my daughter and my daughter-in-law give birth — one at home, and one at a birthing center — both without the use of any drugs.
I watched and prayed as they entered fully into their labor, breathing into the pain, working with the contractions.
As the hours dragged on, I watched them battle through the dark and awful fear that deliverance would never come — that strength would fail, and life would be swallowed up in death.
And I watched as they entered the phase called transition — that sacred and solemn space, where the world disappears and the whole body, soul, and spirit is consumed with bringing forth life.
Watching was like catching a glimpse into eternal mysteries — the hope that the creation itself will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. The hope of redemption that contracts the soul of every believer with prayers that are groanings too deep for words.
When I consider the brokenness of the world today — the desperation of refugees torn from their homes yet feared and rejected by many in the world, the immensity of modern day slavery and human trafficking, the selfish demands of the privileged, and the ignored oppression of the poor, the orphan, and the widow — I feel exhausted and tempted to despair. Perhaps deliverance will never come. Perhaps strength will fail, and life will be swallowed up in death.
But then I remember Who subjected creation to this prolonged ordeal, and hope rises. Perhaps we’re on the edge of transition — that holy and solemn space where the soul gives itself to a higher purpose.
Perhaps the church will shake off her anesthesia, enter fully into her labor, breathe into the pain, and work with the contractions, and perhaps new life will come forth from all this agony.
This is my hope.
And my prayer?
It hasn’t changed.
It’s still the same aching, exquisite cry that belongs to the Spirit and the Bride.