“All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy.” (Rom 8:22-25, MSG)
Were you aware that we are compared to a pregnant woman?
“Hey, do you really think that I am pregnant?”
According to the book of Romans, the more we wait, the more we are enlarged; and the more we are enlarged, “the more joyful our expectancy!”
The problem is that some of us are more than a little bit impatient!
All that pain, suffering, persecution, wars, hatred and tears makes us realize how much we long for a better world. We are looking forward to a world of genuine love and committed peace, where there will be no more suffering: “He’ll wipe every tear from their eyes. Death is gone for good-tears gone, crying gone, pain gone-all the first order of things gone.” (Rev 21:4, MSG)
Does this mean we sit down in our comfy chair and wait impatiently for the end of time? Did Jesus go directly to Golgotha for us to be saved? Or did He spend time with us, testifying to the passion and love of our Heavenly Father towards each one of us? If He was testifying, why should we put our slippers on and sleep through both day and night? Didn’t he encourage us with the recommendation: “And you also must testify . . .” (John 15:27a, NIV2)?
How can any of us who have experienced Him fully in our lives remain silent? After all, when we have found the love of our lives, we cannot help but broadcast about this special person. “Guess who I met? . . .”
Our Father is way beyond anyone in this world: He saves us. He heals us. He sustains us. He keeps on encouraging us. Let’s share how we are experiencing Him will change the world, one person at a time.
Have you seen the movie “Risen”? At the end, when Jesus was rising into the sky, He encourages his disciples: “Testify about what you have experienced.” All the disciples were excited. They had become co-laborers with Jesus, who promised that He would be with us all the way!
We, too, have that same message: to love genuinely, to heal people through our Father, to encourage and share our testimony of what changed our miserable life! We either shrug our shoulders, or we do something about it. The following story from Heidi and Rowland Baker, who are called to change the lives of the people of Mozambique, illustrates this point very well:
Somewhere South Of Pemba… Tuesday, 9 November 2004
The night is so dark. The road south of Pemba is finally paved, but the villages we drive through are the same as they have been for centuries. Each seems still, quiet, lifeless, almost ghost-like in the night. With no electricity, or even candles and lanterns, they melt quickly away into the darkness as we pass by in our Land Rover. We are headed fifty miles out of town for yet another outreach in a Moslem village untouched by the Gospel so far. We know that all around us in that void, without light or movement that we can see, are people – thousands of souls who are without hope and without God in the world.
Our diesel engine is loud and steady. Our windows are rattling. We pass an occasional slow and timid driver. We turn off the main two-lane highway and head west toward the villages of the Makonde, another major unreached ethnic group in this province. After years spent in Asia, Africa seems so sparse, so empty. But seventy percent of Mozambique’s almost twenty million people live in extreme isolation out in the bush, and Jesus knows where each one is. On we drive to the harvest!
Suddenly along the side of the road ahead we see a rectangle of light, and it turns out to be the video projection screen our advance team is using. They went on ahead hours ago with a big flatbed truck to set up a sound system and projector, and the Jesus film has been showing since sundown. We pull up in the dirt to a familiar scene. The whole local village is standing in the dark around the screen, which can be viewed from both sides. Four speakers are pointed in all directions. Everyone is listening intently. Old grannies, young men, small children are all caught up with this Jesus they have known nothing about.
As the film ends and Jesus is rising in the air returning to heaven, we turn on a few crude fluorescent lights and Heidi jumps up to greet the crowd with her Makua interpreter. She starts with some Makua herself, which thrills everyone. Imagine a blonde American girl speaking their obscure tribal dialect way out in this village! And then “Mama Aida” pours her heart out describing this awesome, living Jesus who is their one hope of salvation, the one person they absolutely must find and have forever. He is God revealed. Who wants Him? Who wants His forgiveness, His heart, His eternal life? This time no one is throwing rocks and sand. No one is yelling, mocking and disrupting the gathering. Everyone in this Moslem crowd is enthusiastically interested in pursuing this good news, this salvation that has been offered to them for the first time.
But wait. There’s more. Everyone who needs healing, come forward! Especially the blind and deaf! Jesus is here to heal! A small crowd shuffles to the front, not exactly knowing what to expect. Heidi finds a blind lady and starts praying softly and gently for her. Minutes go by. Let the faith and love flow. Contend for the healing. Stand firm. Relax in His power. Soon the lady can see, but how clearly? Keep praying. Hold up keys, fingers, other things. She identifies them all. Now she can see clearly (see photo)! She is really happy, and the news spreads through the crowd. We are getting very excited. A deaf-mute shows up. Again Heidi and all of us are praying. Patience. Don’t stop. Keep praying. Starting talking, prompting. Can he hear? Can he repeat words? In a few minutes, he can! And then he starts to repeat whole sentences clearly and easily (see photo). The people find out and erupt with joy. It has been years since anyone heard him speak – they can’t remember how long. The whole village knows these two and what Jesus has just done for them. Now who wants to follow Jesus? Everyone!! Right now! The village has come to life and will never be the same…
We pray with everyone together. We celebrate. Our visiting missionaries and local pastors take turns encouraging the new believers. We continue to pray for the sick. Already we start thinking about how to get a pastor to this village and consolidate what has been accomplished in one night. We are especially encouraged because we are told that this village is the gateway to the Makonde, and we expect in the Lord that village after village toward the west will come to Jesus in quick succession. And so the province of Cabo Delgado is being won…
Written by Rolland and Heidi Baker. Thanks to Iris Global http://www.irisglobal.org/news/newsletters/view/one-night-in-pemba
So my friend, we are all pregnant in faith, expecting a better world. That day will come soon! Shouldn’t we be excited about this and testify like Jesus urged all of us?
“Those slippers certainly fit my feet perfectly!” Is that truly the highlight of your day?
(To access the entire “Radical Grace From the Book of Romans” devotional series, please click here.)