What a way to begin a new year! “Anguish” I understand that continuing our study of the downward spiral of God’s people may be a downer for my blog readers as well. Can’t we find some happy, pleasant women to talk about? Or how about we explore the joyful things in a woman’s life? After all, this blog is entitled “Addicted to Joy”!
However, I will take the risk of sticking to the plan and speaking the truth. If anyone spoke truth into the world, it was the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah’s message did not stop with the anguish though. He looked beyond the suffering and so can we.
The Woman in Childbirth Speaks
“God often calls me his wife. He has accused me of horrible things- wickedness, evil, and even adultery. I am proud; I stand tall and no one can overcome me. No other nation will desecrate me because I belong to God. He will not allow it! He professes his love for me over and over. I am the only people he cares about and nothing can hurt me.”
“You look surprised. ‘Divided’ you say. Yes, I have been divided. Israel fell away but I, Judah, am the best part. God is our God. Nothing can harm us. It is all just rumors. Ravings. Imaginations of prophets who think they are better than anyone else.”
Judah is pale. She seems to be suffering, weakening.
“NO! I am strong. I am fine. These little pains are nothing. They…”
She stops in mid-sentence, panting, holding herself as if she might disintegrate any moment. Her fingers stretch over her swollen abdomen. She is in labor and she will soon give birth to her own destruction.
“Oh, no! This comes and goes. It’s just an annoyance. They call it selfishness, greed, pride—but the prophets do not understand. This is our way. We do not need the God of the prophets. We have found better things to do with our time, our money, and our lives. We…”
Again, the woman pants and her hands stretch out, reaching for something to hold on to. She begins to double over and moan. She is rocking back and forth. Tears are streaming down her cheeks.
“I….will…..not…..bow. I….will….have…..my….own….way”, she gasps each word through clenched teeth. The pains again subside but they are coming stronger and stronger. “There is nothing wrong with me. This will pass. I am strong. Nothing can stop me. I am in control of my own destiny. “
The contraction lasts longer each time and she cannot stand erect. Bending, weaving, she shakes her head and wipes tears from her eyes.
“If God loves me like he says he does, he will keep me safe. He will come and…” she moves her mouth to speak but no words pass her lips. She collapses to the ground and writhes in anguish. Over and over the pains pass through her body like crashing waves on the seashore. Her eyes are open wide, she opens her mouth to scream but the pain takes her breath away. She is overwhelmed with suffering. There is no pretense now. The birth pains have overcome the woman. But it is she who will be delivered—into the hands of the Babylonians.
Judah had rejected God. She was evil to the core; she was dirty. Her strength was only a shell, a facade. Yes, Judah rejected God, but God did not reject His own. He was faithful to the remnant of followers who had remained true, and through them a child was born—the Messiah, the Savior. Let us learn from the suffering of the woman. Commit this New Year to God. Love him and serve Him faithfully.
This story is from Jeremiah 1:4-8; 4:31; 29:1-14; 30:6. Go to The Women Speak page for a Bible lesson for this story.