By Cindy Koch –
It was early in the morning; the pain was still dull and distant. I looked up at a quiet, blank celling considering the severity of this discomfort, but I knew it had only begun. Taking one last look around the dark and familiar room, I soaked in a moment of rest before it started up again. Inhale… exhale… Ouch. That tiny, soft sting took my breath away one more time. I gasped for a little more air as I felt something like a white-hot rock pressing harder and harder into my lower abdomen. Only two minutes had gone by. It was time to do something about this.
The doctor said to call when the contractions were two minutes apart. So, I gathered my swollen ankles, grasped my nine-month belly, and waddled to the phone. By the time I shuffled to mid-living room, a violent tightening sub-bellybutton almost buckled my knees. The standing position only intensified the escalating pain. I did not like this at all.
Within the hour, I was hooked up to fancy machines in the labor and delivery wing of our local little hospital. A cheerful plump nurse came by to check on me every once in a while. “Everything looks good,” she said. “Baby is healthy; so are you,” she said. My husband gave me encouraging looks, holding my hand for comfort. Since this was our fourth child, we were able to pass the time by talking and joking in between soundless contractions. After one good silent pause in pain, he looked into my eyes and laughed, “Come on, you can get through it; bear your curse!”
When the sharp smothering squeezes almost left no time to breathe, I remained focused on those humorous words of my husband. But there was an abundance of truth and simplicity in those words. There I was, contracting over and over, each one more painful than the last. This really hurt, I could not comprehend the “good” like the nurse kept saying it was. It was not right. It was an intensely clear and tangible moment experiencing the curse bestowed upon every woman since the Garden of Eden.
Since then, I think back to that terribly painful realization. Although, I can’t quite remember how very much it all hurt. The details are fuzzy and lost in the complete exhaustion. But those simple words reminded me something about the state of my existence right here and now. I am living in the middle of a cursed and dying world. And God said it would hurt.
Naturally, we seek to stop our pain. Rationally, we run for cover and deal out blame. Understandably, we look for avenues to avoid the suffering God once described. It’s not our fault. We can fix it. Or maybe we can ignore it for a while.
But there is value in the pain. Suffering wakens us from the comfortable apathy of the world and her impotent idols. The sting of death sets a fire to our eyes looking for answers. Tearful struggles ignite our longing desire for a world free from a curse. And for those of us who have been crucified with Christ, we see this fallen world in a whole new light. We can’t find an answer in ourselves. There is no one else left to blame. As hard as we try, we can’t fix our world or our sin. We take comfort in the work of Jesus.
By His death and resurrection, Jesus Christ owned every bit of the curse of this sinful people and world. Although we are still living in this fallen creation, the curse does not define us anymore. So, don’t just bear your curse—own it.
In Christ, you are bold enough to admit you have fallen short of the glory of God. You are not afraid of the pain and hurt that follows your every footstep past the Garden of Eden. You own your failures, admit your sin, and speak the hidden things of your heart. You endure through the pain of childbirth and the life of worry that follows. You keep going even when death strikes again. You know the weeping will only last for a night. You trust that joy is coming in the morning.
Own your curse, because in Christ, you own eternal life.