I'm not known in my family for having the greatest memory. I do, however, remember quite well the birth of our children (good thing right?). Few experiences are quite like births. Our children were both born in a birth center (a house really). It was a fabulous experience, although I wasn't the one going through the pain. What made these days amazing was first, we got two amazing kids, but secondly was the environment that was created by our midwife and her team for Kim to give birth in.
In Isaiah 42:14 it says, "For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant." This is an odd image for us to see God put "himself" in, the place of a mother about to give birth. The people of God had been in exile for some time and God was about to "give birth" to a new life. In Jewish culture this was likely seen as one of the most vulnerable and weak states a woman could be in. Yet, in reality, it is a woman expressing great strength. Bringing new life into the world is a painful, yet joyous experience. Our God knows this pain first hand. The new life that is being birthed through the death and resurrection of Jesus is truly painful and surely miraculous.
Nurturing an environment that is conducive to birth is the key role of the midwife. The midwife doesn't actually do any of the birthing. We, as followers of Jesus, are in the role of midwife in the world around us. God is already at work bringing resurrection to the lives of people all around us. Our role, is to assist in this process. In the book, "To Alter Your World", the authors write, "The invitation of God is to incarnate in the way of Jesus, living wholeheartedly in the world as we are transformed by the presence of the Holy Spirit in the places where we live, work, serve, and play. It is the Spirit within us that impacts and alters the environments we inhabit."
May we partner with God in the birthing of new life, in our own hearts and the lives of those around us. May we help create environments where Holy Spirit can do the work. May we plant seeds, water, and nurture so that God's powerful work can burst forth into new life.