“How are you doing?“ a young gal asked me.
“Good! Excited to give birth! It's hard to think about anything else.“ I said patting my very large 39 week belly.
“I can’t understand how anyone could be excited about putting themselves in hours of pain.“ She replied with a chuckle.
On the drive home I kept replaying that dialogue. She was right. It seems odd that I would have any emotion other than dread and fear right about now.
I then heard the scripture in my thoughts “For the joy set before [Jesus] He endured the cross.“ (Hebrews 12:2)
I began to journey with Holy Spirit on a revelation of the cross I’ve never seen.
We, as Christians focus so much on the cross. Rightfully so. It was the platform and process that allowed us to be adopted into the family of God. But sometimes I think we focus so much on the sacrifice and completely ignore the reward.
Stay with me. It's not my intention to go heresy on you.
Imagine this scenario. A mom is playing in the park with her adorable beaming toddler. Another mom exchanges smiles and says “What a sweet little girl. She’s beautiful. ” and the mom says, ”You see a beautiful girl?! All I can see every time I look at her is 18 hours of contractions and misery.”
That would be crazy.
Or what if every night at bedtime, a mother sat on the edge on the bed of her child and kissed his forehead and said “I pray that every time you think of me you picture me in a hospital bed yelling in agony.”
No. Maybe in joking some moms would do that but in their heart they want their child to see them as the mom who hugged and cared, who laughed and played, who comforted. Who was there and a part of their life.
Women endure the pains of birth because of the joy set before them in holding and knowing their baby.
Now lets circle back to Jesus. Why did he go to the cross?
He died so we could have new (spiritual) birth.
So we could know the Father the same way He does.
So we could be adopted, and become a Child of God.
When I was laying in the hospital, in pain, I was thinking of Oliver. I was thinking of how much I wanted to know him and see him and hold him. Oliver was the joy set before me. Put my body through whatever it took, tear down my dignity, my boundaries, my preferences.... just do whatever it takes to get that baby here. (I'm sure the same situation will be for Eleanor.)
Jesus is God, he didn't have to obey the Father, He didn't have to go to the cross. What motivation in the world brings a Holy God to go through with this plan? What were His last thoughts before giving himself to death?
We can't be for certain of His exact mental dialogue, but I believe on the cross, just possibly, just maybe.... He was thinking of you.
You, me, us... WE were the joy set before him! He did it for friendship! He did it for family!
The reality that through this pain and sacrifice would come the ability to eternally know you. To watch you be loved by The Father. That's why Jesus went to the cross. Not to make the cross a belief system icon, but to obey The Father and show us love.
The cross is VITALLY important. Without the death, without the cross, the new birth (new creation - salvation - when our sin self dies and our real self comes alive) wouldn’t be possible.
But my challenge to us, the Holy Spirit's challenge to me... just as a mother dwells on her child more than the bloody birth, dwell on the RESURRECTION LIFE not just the bloody sacrifice. You see, the beauty we dwell on, the finished work we celebrate, the reality we dwell on is that Jesus is alive and so are we.
May we never make light of the cross or the sacrifice. But, may we also not forget He wants us to relish and live from the outcome of the cross! Jesus isn't on a cross right now. So let's not keep Him here. He's on a throne. He's ruling and reigning with JOY and with us.
You are His joy,
Abby ***Reader Note. This has been written ahead to protect my maternity leave. For current updates of life, make sure to follow me on social media platforms at @abbycirkles ***Don't Forget... The Cirkles are cheering you on!