Walking through the Stages of Life: Babies (1)

In the next few weeks, we will be studying the various stages of one’s life.  The Bible has much to say about each age – encouragement, warnings, pictures, and exhortations.  Today, we begin with the earliest stage – babies.

Father and mother find out they are expecting a baby, and the whole process begins.  For nine months, the Creator carefully forms the baby with His own hand, shaping and forming little arms, hands, legs, and feet.  Fearfully and wonderfully made, since the moment of conception!  So much for the horrid, disgusting sin of abortion.  Instead of killing an “unwanted thing” in the womb, our response at the news of pregnancy is, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made”!

Finally, after nine joyful, but also wearying months, the nervous parents pack what they need and travel to the hospital.  The labor pains progressively become worse.  The mother-to-be clasps the rail of her bed, sweating, pain stitched across her face, exhausted, but determined to deliver the baby.

Such pain does a woman endure during labor, that the Bible often uses the pain of childbirth in other contexts.  The apostle Paul described his labors among the Thessalonians as a woman in travail (I Thess. 2:9).  He labored among the church day and night, preaching the gospel of God.  In John 16, we read that Jesus would leave His disciples for a time – they would weep and lament, as a woman in travail.  But then, when they would see Jesus again, their hearts would rejoice, just as a woman rejoices at the birth of her child.

Then the baby is delivered.  New life!  A miracle!  A living, breathing, thrashing, crying baby has come into the world.  Intricately woven and fashioned for nine months, finally a beautiful human life emerges.

Birth is a breath-taking picture of the reality of regeneration (John 3).  Every elect child of God is born again – raised from the deadness of sin, and given new life.  If you ever question whether regeneration is God’s work alone, or man’s work plus God’s work, look upon a baby – helpless and needy; what does a baby have to do with its own conception and survival?  Neither do we raise ourselves from the dead.  This is God’s work – a miracle!  Think upon these things the next time you see a baptism, or hold a baby in your arms.

Now born, the baby craves the nourishing milk of his/her mother.  Without this milk, the baby cries and fusses.  But with regular feedings, the small child grows, develops, and builds up its defenses against sickness and disease.  When the hungering stomach is filled again with food, the baby can sleep contentedly and peacefully.

God’s Word, picking up on this familiar activity of breastfeeding, commands us to desire the sincere milk of the word, that we might grow by it (I Peter 2:2).  Are we hungering and thirsting after the Word of God as a newborn babe?

May God use pregnancy and childbirth to stamp upon our hearts and minds the spiritual realities to which they point.

RB

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