In the hospital hallway just now, while waiting for a procedure to be completed, so I could re-enter room 9, I read a couple of crowded bulletin boards…completely. Anything for a diversion. I walked down a hallway a couple of times. I talked about trivia with my son-in-law. I chatted momentarily with a physician. I noticed that people had stopped saying “Good evening,” and had started saying “Good morning.” The night was fast passing. I did not want to think about the pain that was occurring in room 9. The procedure should have been routine with minimal pain, but a slight complication made it long and laborious and pretty painful. I finally commented to Ben, “I cannot believe this is taking so long.”
But you know how the child-birthing nights are passed. Anticipation is the mode of operation. Hope is the victory. The intensity of every pain, every contraction, every dreaded procedure, every injection is eclipsed by what you are anticipating….You are going to have a baby when you leave that place. Right now is not what this is about. This is about a sweet reward. This is about tomorrow.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.
21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world.
22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you (John 16:20-22).
There is a spiritual sense in which our God labored in the birth of the church. He suffered anguish at Calvary to bring us the joy of redemption. His disciples shared the sorrow as they kept the vigil of persecution and sorrow in the leaving of the man-Christ and the infancy of the body of Christ on earth, the church. It was a long night of anguish between the time when Jesus set his face toward Jerusalem and the time when Paul could write that the gospel had been preached to every creature (Colossians 1:23).
Jesus bore the suffering for the joy. That’s what Hannah has done through this long night. The sun is coming up outside this hospital window and we, like the others on this hall who have labored through the night, are excited about the possibility that this may be the morning of joy. It is to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly more than we ask or desire that we look this morning (Eph. 3:20). We see His new mercies this and every morning (Lamentations 3:23). May the man child that is born of this travail ever bring Him glory and honor.