John 3:3 – Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."
Calving season is upon us once again and we're all praying for cows and calves in our Cariboo House Church prayer times.
I must have been 12 or 13 the first time I saw a calf being born. The strange thing was that, growing up just across the field from my grandparents' dairy farm, I had never before witnessed this miracle of life beginning. In our naive years, probably most of us have an impression of birth as a beautiful, tranquil scene where mother's body works in rhythm with nature to gently push the new-born out into the world. That certainly didn't describe this first experience for me, or for the poor heifer who was in labour before my young eyes. As we watched, eventually a little pair of hooves and a nose became visible out the back of the hard-working heifer. But they didn't come much farther. After a while it was decided that the first-time mother needed some help. No mid-wife giving helpful instructions. No doctor attempting the use of forceps. No, this was a cow, and a stubborn calf. Quickly my Uncle John and Grandpa tied a rope around the calf's protruding hooves and the other end was tied to a long 4X4 beam. The beam was then lodged against a post in the stall as leverage and the men took turns pushing with all their weight against the beam to try to pull that poor calf right out of its mother's womb. After a little work on the part of my Grandpa, Uncle John and the cow, the little calf oozed out and the mother went to work cleaning it off.
What a way to come into the world, I thought! But isn't that the way it is with some of us? We must be born again into the kingdom of God. It sounds like a nice image. Babies are cute and tug on our emotions. But some of us come into the kingdom, not in a peaceful, warm, gentle way, but resisting, holding back, having to be pulled in as if someone has us tied to a beam levered on a stall post. We don't want to leave the comfort of the womb we have woven around ourselves – our comfortable lives and attitudes. The kingdom of God demands that we leave the comforts of our lives and give them up to seek only the comfort of being God's child.
It wasn't long before that calf was enjoying its first long drink of its mother's milk and standing on wobbly legs. We don't know the benefits of a new life with Jesus until we begin to experience them. Then we learn that it is all worth the birthing pain.
Prayer: Lord, help us to trust you more, whether we are struggling with being born again into new life with Jesus, or with some new work you are calling us to do. Give us your strength, that we may act, before we know all the benefits. In Jesus' name. Amen.