"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world." - C.S. Lewis' work, The Problem of Pain.
We should have the mindset of doing things FOR His glory, even in the pain (1 Corinthians 10:31). Pain is so commonly thought of as a bad thing. No one wants or likes the burn from mouthwash, get half a nights rest, or go through labor pains! (Quite a spectrum I gave you, huh?) But what would life be without pain than for us to appreciate the pleasures? If Jesus was like "ummm...I don't want to go through that whole nailed to a cross thing, so just beam me up God, and wash them of their sins" what kind of example would that be? He knew the impact it would make on our souls, and BECAUSE He loves us He went through that! This is not easy for me to grasp. Those late nights when Nathaniel was a few weeks old and nothing was putting him to sleep, I was pushed to some serious limits of patience and exhaustion. I had a hard time sometimes even remembering that my lack of patience, was, well, mine. It was not Nathaniel's fault! He was a newborn simply trying to say he was hungry or that he needed comfort. When I started to become frustrated, that's when I stopped trusting God and leaning on His definition of rest.
Our culture suggests that as long as we are logically justified, we may do what we please and think as we please and that we are beyond reproach. This logical justification we engage in involves us saying things to ourselves like, well "this situation is bad, so I should feel frustrated, and since I should feel frustrated, I am right to act and live in my frustration. I mean, if I don't then I'm not being true to myself, right?" The biggest issue with this is that, this is not the model Christ gave us. I bet that once he started getting spat on and beat on, He could have said "ain't nobody got time for this," and just changed his circumstance because He was frustrated. But He did not. He used the pain as the representation of the physical torment that we deserve for our own sin and injustice. His pain had purpose, and I think it's time we noticed that our pain does as well.
This brings me to another point that I have been thinking about - da da dumm....natural child birth versus epidurals. As some of you know, I opted to give birth to Nathaniel naturally. Why didn't I bother with an epidural you may ask? I mean we kind of see it like having a headache and not taking Tylenol. Why would you do that? My reason is this, I wanted to experience God in a way I never have before. Here is my ultimate opportunity to tell Him I love Him with all that I have, that I was willing to endure whatever it took. Now, please understand, this was a very personal decision for me, and you may not be at a place in your relationship in Christ where it is even necessary or appropriate. Maybe other circumstances have granted you an immense physical opportunity to really put your fears, heck, your life in God.
Point is, for those of you on the fence, I want to give you an encouragement to see this as opportunity. Pray, and consider what the Lord is telling you. The Lord completely blew my mind and immediately prepared my heart to depend on Him like never before. Honestly, the verses in 1 Peter and Romans that encourage us to rejoice in our sufferings had never been so real.
Now, for those of you who may have had epidurals, cesarean sections, or the like, in fear/concern of a painful or potentially complicated childbirth, please know that I am, in no way, out to judge you. I just see natural childbirth as one of the MANY, but somehow incredibly unique (I mean, men can't experience this...right? haha) opportunities for women here on earth to really experience the love and power of Christ in an extremely intimate way.
(Nathaniel squished himself behind these toys and couldn't get out. He is very good at showing a face of pain or discomfort)
P.S. There are some sources that you may also want to consider on epidurals, cesarean sections, etc., that I actually found helped me make my decision to give birth naturally. You may want to consider them.
Every underlined word is it's own link to documentation:
1. 33% of births in 2012 were cesarean
2. Risks of epidurals ... many risks.